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[She goes to aid the SERGEANT with the body, and presently gives a cry, and faints. HILDEBRAND comes forward. All crowd round him; he speaks with an expression of horror. SER. 'Tis Quentin Blane! Poor youth, his gloomy bodings

Have been the prologue to an act of darkness;
His feet are manacled, his bosom stabb'd,
And he is foully murder'd. The proud Knight
And his dark Ranger must have done this deed,
For which no common ruffian could have motive.

SER. Nothing that can affect the innocent child,
But murder's guilt attaching to her father,
Since the blood musters in the victim's veins
At the approach of what holds lease from him
Of all that parents can transmit to children.
And here comes one to whom I'll vouch the circum-


The EARL OF DUNBAR enters with Soldiers and others, having AUCHINDRANE and PHILIP prisoners. DUN. Fetter the young ruffian and his trait'rous father!

[They are made secure. AUCH. 'Twas a lord spoke it-I have known a knight,

Sir George of Home, who had not dared to say so.
DUN. 'Tis Heaven, not I, decides upon your guilt.
A harmless youth is traced within your power,
Sleeps in your Ranger's house-his friend at midnight
Is spirited away. Then lights are seen,
And groans are heard, and corpses come ashore
Mangled with daggers, while (to PHILIP) your dagger


The sanguine livery of recent slaughter:
Here, too, the body of a murder'd victim,
(Whom none but you had interest to remove,)
Bleeds on a child's approach, because the daughter
Of one the abettor of the wicked deed.
All this, and other proofs corroborative,

A PEA. Caution were best, old man-Thou art a Call on us briefly to pronounce the doom

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We have in charge to utter.

AUCH. If my house perish, Heaven's will be done!
I wish not to survive it; but, O Philip,
Would one could pay the ransom for us both!
PHI. Father, 'tis fitter that we both should die,
Leaving no heir behind.-The piety

Of a bless'd saint, the morals of an anchorite,
Could not atone thy dark hypocrisy,

Or the wild profligacy I have practised.

Ruin'd our house, and shatter'd be our towers,
And with them end the curse our sins have merited !"

1 MS." His unblooded wounds," &c.

the best parts of Waverley.' The verse, too, is more rough, natural, and nervous, than that of 'Halidon Hill;' but, noble "The poet, in his play of Auchindrane, displayed real as the effort was, it was eclipsed so much by his splendid tragic power, and soothed all those who cried out before for a romances, that the public still complained that he had not more direct story, and less of the retrospective. Several of done his best, and that his genius was not dramatic."-ALLAN the scenes are conceived and executed with all the powers of CUNNINGHAW.—Athenæum, 14th Dec. 1833.


The House of Aspen.



THIS attempt at dramatic composition was executed nearly thirty years since, when the magnificent works of Goethe and Schiller were for the first time made known to the British public, and received, as many now alive must remember, with universal enthusiasm. What we admire we usually attempt to imitate; and the author, not trusting to his own efforts, borrowed the substance of the story and a part of the diction from a dramatic romance called "Der Heilige Vehmé" (the Secret Tribunal,) which fills the sixth volume of the "Sagen der Vorzeit" (Tales of Antiquity,) by Beit Weber. The drama must be termed rather a rifacimento of the original than a translation, since the whole is compressed, and the incidents and dialogue occasionally much varied. The imitator is ignorant of the real name of his ingenious contemporary, and has been informed that of Beit Weber is fictitious.1

The late Mr. John Kemble at one time had some desire to bring out the play at Drury-Lane, then adorned by himself and his matchless sister, who were to have supported the characters of the unhappy son and mother: but great objections appeared to this proposal. There was danger that the main spring of the story, the binding engagements formed by members of the secret tribunal,-might not be sufficiently felt by an English audience, to whom the nature of that singularly mysterious institution was unknown from early association. There was also, according to Mr. Kemble's experienced opinion, too much blood, too much of the dire catastrophe of Tom Thumb, when all die on the stage. It was besides esteemed perilous to place, the fifth act and the parade and show of the secret conclave, at the mercy of underlings and sceneshifters, who, by a ridiculous motion, gesture, or accent, might turn what should be grave into farce.

The author, or rather the translator, willingly acquiesced in this reasoning, and never afterwards made any attempt to gain the honour of the buskin. The German taste also, caricatured by a number of imitators who, incapable of copying the sublimity of the great masters of the school, supplied its place by extravagance and bombast, fell into disrepute, and received a coup de grace from the joint efforts of the late lamented Mr. Canning and Mr. Frere. The effect of their singularly happy piece of ridicule called "The Rovers," a mock play which appeared in the Anti

I George Wächter, who published various works under the pseudonym of Veit Weber, was born in 1763, and died in 1837. -ED.

Jacobin, was, that the German school, with its beau ties and its defects, passed completely out of fashion and the following scenes were consigned to neglect and obscurity. Very lately, however, the writer chanced to look them over with feelings very different from those of the adventurous period of his literary life during which they had been written, and yet with such as perhaps a reformed libertine might regard the illegitimate production of an early amour. There is something to be ashamed of, certainly; but, after all, paternal vanity whispers that the child has a resemblance to the father.

To this it need only be added, that there are in existence so many manuscript copies of the following play, that if it should not find its way to the public sooner, it is certain to do so when the author can no more have any opportunity of correcting the press, and consequently at greater disadvantage than at present. Being of too small a size or consequence for a separate publication, the piece is sent as a contribution to the Keepsake, where its demerits may be hidden amid the beauties of more valuable articles."

ABBOTSFORD, 1st April, 1829.


RUDIGER, Baron of Aspen, an old German warrior. sons to Rudiger.


HENRY OF ASPEN, RODERIC, Count of Maltingen, chief of a department of the Invisible Tribunal, and the hereditary enemy of the family of Aspen.

WILLIAM, Baron of Wolfstein, ally of Count Ro


BERTRAM OF EBERSDORF, brother to the former husband of the Baroness of Aspen, disguised as a minstrel.


WICKERD, followers of the House of Aspen. KEYNOLD,

CONRAD, Page of Honour to Henry of Aspen. MARTIN, Squire to George of Aspen.

2 See Life of Scott, vol. ii., pp. 18, 20, 72; L, 2; Ix., 208.

HUGO, Squire to Count Roderic.
PETER, an ancient domestic of Rudiger.
FATHER LUDOVIC, Chaplain to Rudiger.


RUD. Tell me not of that, lady. When I first knew thee, Isabella, the fair maid of Arnheim was the joy of her companions, and breathed life wherever she came. Thy father married thee to Arnolf of Ebersdorf-not much with thy will, 'tis true-(she hides her face.) Nay

ISABELLA, formerly married to Arnolf of Ebersdorf, forgive me, Isabella--but that is over—he died, and

now wife of Rudiger.

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the ties between us, which thy marriage had broken, were renewed-but the sunshine of my Isabella's light heart returned no more.

ISA. (weeping.) Beloved Rudiger, you search my very soul! Why will you recall past times-days of spring that can never return? Do I not love thee more than ever wife loved husband?

RUD. (stretches out his arms—she embraces him.) And therefore art thou ever my beloved Isabella. But still, is it not true? Has not thy cheerfulness vanished since thou hast become Lady of Aspen? Dost thou repent of thy love to Rudiger?

ISA. Alas! no! never! never!

RUD. Then why dost thou herd with monks and priests, and leave thy old knight alone, when, for the first time in his stormy life, he has rested for weeks within the walls of his castle? Hast thou committed a crime from which Rudiger's love cannot absolve thee? ISA. O many! many!

RUD. Then be this kiss thy penance. And tell me, Isabella, hast thou not founded a convent, and endowed it with the best of thy late husband's lands? Ay, and

RUDIGER, Baron of Aspen, and his lady, ISABELLA, are with a vineyard which I could have prized as well as

discovered sitting at a large oaken table.

RUD. A plague upon that roan horse! Had he not stumbled with me at the ford after our last skirmish, I had been now with my sons. And yonder the boys are, hardly three miles off, battling with Count Roderic, and their father must lie here like a worm-eaten manuscript in a convent library! Out upon it! Out upon it! Is it not hard that a warrior, who has travelled so many leagues to display the cross on the walls of Zion, should be now unable to lift a spear before his own castle gate!

the sleek monks. Dost thou not daily distribute alms to twenty pilgrims? Dost thou not cause ten masses to be sung each night for the repose of thy late husband's soul?

ISA. It will not know repose.

RUD. Well, well-God's peace be with Arnolf of Ebersdorf; the mention of him makes thee ever sad, though so many years have passed since his death.

ISA. But at present, dear husband, have I not the most just cause for anxiety? Are not Henry and George, our beloved sons, at this very moment perhaps engaged in doubtful contest with our hereditary foe,

ISA. Dear husband, your anxiety retards your reco-Count Roderic of Maltingen? very.

RUD. May be so; but not less than your silence and melancholy! Here have I sate this month, and more, since that cursed fall! Neither hunting, nor feasting, nor lance-breaking for me! And my sons- -George enters cold and reserved, as if he had the weight of the empire on his shoulders, utters by syllables a cold "How is it with you?" and shuts himself up for days in his solitary chamber-Henry, my cheerful HenryISA. Surely, he at least

RUD. Even he forsakes me, and skips up the tower staircase like lightning to join your fair ward, Gertrude, on the battlements. I cannot blame him; for, by my knightly faith, were I in his place, I think even these bruised bones would hardly keep me from her side. Still, however, here I must sit alone.

RUD. Now, there lies the difference: you sorrow that they are in danger, I that I cannot share it with them.-Hark! I hear horses' feet on the drawbridge. Go to the window, Isabella.

Isa. (at the window.) It is Wickerd, your squire.
RUD. Then shall we have tidings of George and
Henry. (Enter WICKERD.) How now, Wickerd?
Have you come to blows yet?
WIC. Not yet, noble sir.
RUD. Not yet-shame on the boys' dallying-what
wait they for?

WIC. The foe is strongly posted, sir knight, upon the Wolfshill, near the ruins of Griefenhaus; therefore your noble son, George of Aspen, greets you well, and requests twenty more men-at-arms, and, after they have joined him, he hopes, with the aid of St. Theo

ISA. Not alone, dear husband. Heaven knows what dore, to send you news of victory. I would do to soften your confinement,

RUD. (attempts to rise hastily.) Saddle my black


barb; 1 will head them myself. (Sits down.) A mur-younger; and when I meet the man that would divide rain on that stumbling roan! I had forgot my dislo-them-I say nothing-but let him look to it.

cated bones. Call Reynold, Wickerd, and bid him take all whom he can spare from defence of the castle -(WICKERD is going)- -and ho! Wickerd, carry with you my black barb, and bid George charge upon him. (Exit WICKERD.) Now see, Isabella, if I disregard the boy's safety; I send him the best horse ever knight bestrode. When we lay before Ascalon, indeed, I had a bright bay Persian-Thou dost not heed


ISA. Forgive me, dear husband; are not our sons in danger? Will not our sins be visited upon them? Is not their present situation

RUD. Situation? I know it well as fair a field for open fight as I ever hunted over: see here-(makes lines on the table)-here is the ancient castle of Griefenhaus in ruins, here the Wolfshill; and here the marsh on the right.

ISA. The marsh of Griefenhaus!

RUD. Yes; by that the boys must pass. ISA. Pass there! (Apart.) Avenging Heaven! thy hand is upon us! [Exit hastily. RUD. Whither now? Whither now? She is gone. Thus it goes. Peter! Peter! (Enter PETER.) Help me to the gallery, that I may see them on horseback. [Exit, leaning on PETER.


The inner court of the castle of Ebersdorf; a quadrangle, surrounded with Gothic buildings; troopers, followers of RUDIGER, pass and repass in haste, as if preparing for an excursion.

WICKERD comes forward.

WIC. What, ho! Reynold! Reynold!-By our Lady, the spirit of the Seven Sleepers is upon himSo ho! not mounted yet? Reynold!


REY. Here! here! A devil choke thy bawling! think'st thou old Reynold is not as ready for a skirmish as thou?

WIC. Nay, nay: I did but jest; but, by my sooth, it were a shame should our youngsters have yoked with Count Roderic before we greybeards come.

REY. Heaven forefend! Our troopers are but saddling their horses; five minutes more, and we are in our stirrups, and then let Count Roderic sit fast.

WIC. A plague on him! he has ever lain hard on the skirts of our noble master.

REY. And how fare our young lords?

WIC. Each well in his humour.- Baron George stern and cold, according to his wont, and his brother as cheerful as ever.

REY. Well!-Baron Henry for me.
WIC. Yet George saved thy life.

REY. True-with as much indifference as if he had | been snatching a chestnut out of the fire. Now Baron Henry wept for my danger and my wounds. Therefore George shall ever command my life, but Henry my love.

WIC. Nay, Baron George shows his gloomy spirit even by the choice of a favourite.

REY. Ay-Martin, formerly the squire of Arnolf of Ebersdorf, his mother's first husband.-I marvel he could not have fitted himself with an attendant from among the faithful followers of his worthy father, whom Arnolf and his adherents used to hate as the Devil hates holy water. But Martin is a good soldier and has stood toughly by George in many a hard brunt.

WIC. The knave is sturdy enough, but so sulky withal-I have seen, brother Reynold, that when Martin showed his moody visage at the banquet, our noble mistress has dropped the wine she was raising to her lips, and exchanged her smiles for a ghastly frown, as if sorrow went by sympathy, as kissing goes by favour.

REY. His appearance reminds her of her first husband, and thou hast well seen that makes her ever sad.

WIC. Dost thou marvel at that? She was married to Arnolf by a species of force, and they say that before his death he compelled her to swear never to espouse Rudiger. The priests will not absolve her for the breach of that vow, and therefore she is troubled in mind. For, d'ye mark me, Reynold- [Bugle sounds.

REY. A truce to your preaching! To horse! and a blessing on our arms!

WIC. St. George grant it!

The gallery of the castle, terminating in a large balcony commanding a distant prospect.-Voices, bugle-horns, kettle-drums, trampling of horses, &c. are heard with


RUDIGER, leaning on PETER, looks from the balcony
GERTRUDE and ISABELLA are near him.

RUD. There they go at length-look, Isabella' look, my pretty Gertrude-these are the iron-handed REY. Especially since he was refused the hand of warriors who shall tell Roderick what it will cost him our lady's niece, the pretty Lady Gertrude.

WIC. Ay, marry! would nothing less serve the fox of Maltingen than the lovely lamb of our young Baron Henry! By my sooth, Reynold, when I look upon these two lovers, they make me full twenty years

to force thee from my protection-(Flourish without. RUDIGER stretches his arms from the balcony.) Go, my children, and God's blessing with you. Look at my black barb, Gertrude. That horse shall let daylight in through a phalanx, were it twenty pikes deep

Shame on it that I cannot mount him! Seest thou how fierce old Reynold looks?

GER. I can hardly know my friends in their armour. [The bugles and kettle-drums are heard as at a greater distance.

RUD. Now I could tell every one of their names, even at this distance; ay, and were they covered, as I have seen them, with dust and blood. He on the dapple-grey is Wickerd-a hardy fellow, but somewhat given to prating. That is young Conrad who gallops so fast, page to thy Henry, my girl..

[Bugles, &c., at a greater distance still. GER. Heaven guard them. Alas! the voice of war that calls the blood into your cheeks chills and freezes mine.

RUD. Say not so. It is glorious, my girl, glorious! See how their armour glistens as they wind round yon hill! how their spears glimmer amid the long train of dust. Hark! you can still hear the faint notes of their trumpets (Bugles very faint.)—And Rudiger, old Rudiger with the iron arm, as the crusaders used to call me, must remain behind with the priests and the women. Well! well!-(Sings.)

"It was a knight to battle rode,

And as his war-horse he bestrode."

Fill me a bowl of wine, Gertrude; and do thou, Peter, call the minstrel who came hither last night.(Sings.)

"Off rode the horseman, dash, sa, sa!

And stroked his whiskers, tra, la, la.”—

PETER goes out.-RUDIGER sits down, and GERTRUDE helps him with wine.) Thanks, my love. It tastes ever best from thy hand. Isabella, here is glory and victory to our boys-(Drinks.)-Wilt thou not pledge


ISA. To their safety, and God grant it!—(Drinks.) Enter BERTRAM as a minstrel, with a boy bearing his harp.-Also PETER.

RUD. Thy name, minstrel!
BER. Minhold, so please you.
RUD. Art thou a German !

BER. Yes, noble sir; and of this province.
RUD. Sing me a song of battle.

[BERTRAM sings to the harp. RUD. Thanks, minstrel: well sung, and lustily. What sayst thou, Isabella?

ISA. I marked him not.

RUD. Nay, in sooth you are too anxious. Cheer up. And thou, too, my lovely Gertrude: in a few hours thy Henry shall return, and twine his laurels into a garland for thy hair. He fights for thee, and he must conquer.

GER. Alas! must blood be spilled for a silly maiden ? RUD. Surely: for what should knights break lances but for honour and ladies' love-ha, minstrel?

BER. So please you-also to punish crimes.

RUD. Out upon it! wouldst have us executioners, minstrel? Such work would disgrace our blades. We leave malefactors to the Secret Tribunal.

ISA. Merciful God! Thou hast spoken a word, Rudiger, of dreadful import.

GER. They say that, unknown and invisible themselves, these awful judges are ever present with the guilty; that the past and the present misdeeds, the secrets of the confessional, nay, the very thoughts of the heart, are before them; that their doom is as sure as that of fate, the means and executioners unknown. RUD. They say true-the secrets of that association, and the names of those who compose it, are as inscrutable as the grave: we only know that it has taken deep root, and spread its branches wide. I sit down each day in my hall, nor know 1 how many of these secret judges may surround me, all bound by the most solemn vow to avenge guilt. Once, and but once, a knight, at the earnest request and inquiries of the emperor, hinted that he belonged to the society: the next morning he was found slain in a forest: the poniard was left in the wound, and bore this label"Thus do the invisible judges punish treachery." GER. Gracious! aunt, you grow pale.

ISA. A slight indisposition only.

RUD. And what of it all? We know our hearts are

open to our Creator: shall we fear any earthly inspection? Come to the battlements; there we shall soonest descry the return of our warriors.

[Exit RUDIGER, with GERTRUDE and PETER. ISA. Minstrel, send the chaplain hither. (Exit BERTRAM.) Gracious Heaven! the guileless innocence of my niece, the manly honesty of my upright-hearted Rudiger, become daily tortures to me. While he was engaged in active and stormy exploits, fear for his safety, joy when he returned to his castle, enabled me to disguise my inward anguish from others. But from myself Judges of blood, that lie concealed in noon

tide as in midnight, who boast to avenge the hidden guilt, and to penetrate the recesses of the human breast, how blind is your penetration, how vain your dagger, and your cord, compared to the conscience of the sinner!

Enter FATHER LUDOVIC. LUD. Peace be with you, lady!

ISA. It is not with me: it is thy office to bring it. LUD. And the cause is the absence of the young knights?

ISA. Their absence and their danger.

LUD. Daughter, thy hand has been stretched out in bounty to the sick and to the needy. Thou hast not denied a shelter to the weary, nor a tear to the afflicted. Trust in their prayers, and in those of the holy convent thou hast founded; peradventure they will bring back thy children to thy bosom.

ISA. Thy brethren cannot pray for me or mine. Their vow binds them to pray night and day for another to supplicate, without ceasing, the Eternal

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