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find Martin, lest he should not be able to reach Ebersdorf.
SCENE III. Wic. I shall, noble sir.
[ The kettle-drums and trumpets flourish as for The Wood of Griefenhaus.-A watch-fire, round which sit setting the watch: the scene closes.
WICKERD, CONRAD, and others, in their watch-cloaks.
Wic. The night is bitter cold.
Con. Ay, but thou hast lined thy doublet well with
old Rhenish. The chapel at Ebersdorf, an ancient Gothio building. Wic. True; and I'll give you warrant for it. ISABELLA is discovered rising from before the altar, on
(Sings.) which burn two tapers.
(RHEIN-WEIN LIED.) Isa. I cannot pray. Terror and guilt have stifled What makes the troopers' frozen courage muster? devotion. The heart must be at ease the hands must The grapes of juice divine. be pure when they are lifted to Heaven. Midnight is Upon the Rhine, upon the Rhine they cluster : the hour of summons: it is now near. How can I Oh, blessed be the Rhine! pray, when I go resolved to deny a crime which every drop of my blood could not wash away! And my son! Let fringe and furs, and many a rabbit skin, sirs, Oh! he will fall the victim of my crime! Arnolf ! Bedeck your Saracen; Arnolf! thou art dreadfully avenged ! (Tap at the He 'll freeze without what warms our hearts within, door.) The footstep of my dreadful guide. (Тар sirs, again.) My courage is no more. (Enter GERTRUDE When the night-frost crusts the fen. by the door.) Gertrude! is it only thou? (embraces her.)
But on the Rhine, but on the Rhine they cluster, Ger. Dear aunt, leave this awful place; it chills my The grapes of juice divine, very blood. My uncle sent me to call you to the That make our troopers’ frozen courage muster: hall.
Oh, blessed be the Rhine! Isa. Who is in the hall ?
GER. Only Reynold and the family, with whom my Con. Well sung, Wickerd; thou wert ever a jovial uncle is making merry.
soul. Isa. Sawest thou no strange faces?
Enter a trooper or tro more. GER. No; none but friends.
Wic. Hast thou made the rounds, Frank? Isa. Art thou sure of that? Is George there! FRANK. Yes, up to the hemlock marsh. It is a stormy
GER. No, nor Henry; both have ridden out. I night; the moon shone on the Wolfshill, and on the think they might have staid one day at least. But dead bodies with which to-day's work has covered it. come, aunt, I hate this place; it reminds me of my We heard the spirit of the house of Maltingen wail. dream. See, yonder was the spot where methought ing over the slaughter of its adherents: I durst go no they were burying you alive, below yon monument | farther. (pointing.)
Wic. Hen-hearted rascal! The spirit of some old Isa. (starting.) The monument of my first husband. raven, who was picking their bones.
leave me, Gertrude. I follow in a moment. Con. Nay, Wickerd; the churchmen say there are (Exit GERTRUDE.) Ay, there he lies! forgetful alike such things. of his crimes and injuries ! Insensible, as if this FRANK. Ay; and Father Ludovic told us last serchapel had never rung with my shrieks, or the castle mon, how the devil twisted the neck of ten farmers at resounded to his parting groans! When shall I sleep Kletterbach, who refused to pay Peter's pence. 80 soundly? (As she gazes on the monument, a figure Wic. Yes, some church devil, no doubt. muffled in black appears from behind it.) Merciful God! FRANK. Nay, old Reynold says, that in passing, by is it a vision, such as has haunted my couch? (It ap- midnight, near the old chapel at our castle, he saw it proaches: she goes on with mingled terror and resolution.) all lighted up, and beard a chorus of voices sing the Ghastly phantom, art thou the restless spirit of one who funeral service. died in agony, or art thou the mysterious being that ANOTHER SOLDIER. Father Ludovic heard the must guide me to the presence of the avengers of same. blood? (Figure bends its head and beckons.)--To-mor Wic. Hear me, ye hare-livered boys! Can you look row! 'To-morrow! I cannot follow thee now! (Figure death in the face in battle, and dread such nursery shows a dagger from beneath its cloak.) Compulsion! bugbears ? Old Reynold saw his vision in the strength I understand thee: I will follow. (She follows the of the grape. As for the chaplain, far be it from me figure a little way; he turns and wraps a black veil round to name the spirit which visits him ; but I know what her head, and takes her hand: then both exeunt behind the I know, when I found him confessing Bertrand's monument.)
pretty Agnes in the chestnut grove.
Con. But, Wickerd, though I have often heard of nearer. (Martin stops.) Who art thou! What strange tales which I could not credit, yet there is one dost thou seek? in our family so well attested, that I almost believe it. Mar. To warm myself at your fire. It is deadly Shall I tell it you?
cold. All SOLDIERS. Do! do tell it, gentle Conrad. Wic. See there, ye cravens, your apparition is a
Wic. And I will take t’ other sup of Rhenish to poor benighted monk: sit down, father. (They place fence against the horrors of the tale.
Martin by the fire.) By heaven, it is Martin-our Con. It is about my own uncle and godfather, Albert Martin ! Martin, how fares it with thee? We have of Horsheim.
sought thee this whole night. Wic. I have seen him-he was a gallant warrior. MAR. So have many others (vacantly.) Con. Well! He was long absent in the Bohemian Con. Yes, thy master.
In an expedition he was benighted, and came Mar. Did you see him too ? to a lone house on the edge of a forest: he and his Con. Whom? Baron George ! followers knocked repeatedly for entrance in vain. Mar. No! my first master, Arnolf of Ebersdorf. They forced the door, but found no inhabitants.
Wic. He raves. FRANK. And they made good their quarters ? Mar. He passed me but now in the wood, mounted
Con. They did: and Albert retired to rest in an up- upon his old black steed; its nostrils breathed smoke per chamber. Opposite to the bed on which he threw and flame; neither tree nor rock stopped him. He himself was a large mirror. At midnight he was said, “ Martin, thou wilt return this night to my serawaked by deep groans: he cast his eyes upon the vice !” mirror, and saw
Wic. Wrap thy cloak around him, Francis; he is FRANK. Sacred Heaven ! Heard you nothing? distracted with cold and pain. Dost thou not recol
Wic. Ay, the wind among the withered leaves. Go lect me, old friend? on, Conrad. Your uncle was a wise man.
Mar. Yes, you are the butler at Ebersdorf: you Con. That's more than grey hairs can make other have the charge of the large gilded cup, embossed folks.
with the figures of the twelve apostles. It was the Wic. Ha! stripling, art thou so malapert? Though favourite goblet of my old master. thou art Lord Henry's page, I shall teach thee who Con. By our Lady, Martin, thou must be distracted commands this party.
indeed, to think our master would intrust Wickerd ALL SOLDIERS. Peace, peace, good Wickerd: let with the care of the cellar. Conrad proceed.
Mar. I know a face so like the apostate Judas on Con. Where was I ?
that cup. I have seen the likeness when I gazed on FRANK. About the mirror.
a mirror. Cox. True. My uncle beheld in the mirror the Wic. Try to go to sleep, dear Martin ; it will rereflection of a human face, distorted and covered with lieve thy brain. (Footsteps are heard in the wood.) To blood. A voice pronounced articulately, “ It is yet your arms. (They take their arms.) time.” As the words were spoken, my uncle discerned in the ghastly visage the features of his own father. Enter two MEMBERS of the Invisible Tribunal, muffled SOLDIER. Hush! By St. Francis I heard a groan.
in their cloaks. (They start up all but WICKERD.)
Con. Stand! Who are you ! Wic. The croaking of a frog, who has caught cold 1 MEM. Travellers benighted in the wood. in this bitter night, and sings rather more hoarsely Wic. Are ye friends to Aspen or Maltingen! than usual.
I Mem. We enter not into their quarrel: we are FRANK. Wickerd, thou art surely no Christian. friends to the right. (They sit down, and close round the fire.)
Wic. Then are ye friends to us, and welcome to Con. Well--my uncle called up his attendants, and pass the night by our fire. they searched every nook of the chamber, but found 2 Mem. Thanks. (They approach the fire, and renothing. So they covered the mirror with a cloth, gard Martin very earnestly.) and Albert was left alone : but hardly had he closed Con. Hear ye any news abroad? his eyes when the same voice proclaimed, “ It is now 2 Mem. None; but that oppression and villany are too late ;” the covering was drawn aside, and he saw rife and rank as ever. the figure
Wic. The old complaint. FRANK. Merciful Virgin ! It comes. (All rise.) 1 Mem. No ! never did former age equal this in Wic. Where? what?
wickedness; and yet, as if the daily commission of Con. See yon figure coming from the thicket ! enormities were not enough to blot the sun, every
hour discovers crimes which have lain concealed for Enter MARTIN, in the monk's dress, much disordered: 1 years. his face is very pale and his steps slow.
Con. Pity the Holy Tribunal should slumber in its Wic. (levelling his pike.) Man or devil, which thou office. wilt, thou shalt feel cold iron, if thou budgest a foot 2 Mem. Young man, it slumbers not. When cri
minals are ripe for its vengeance, it falls like the bolt by an inclination of the head. The costume of the Momof Heaven.
bers is a long black robe, capable of muffling the fuce : MAR. (attempting to rise.) Let me be gone.
some wear it in this manner; others have their faces Con. (detaining him.) Whither now, Martin ? uncovered, unless on the entrance of a stranger : they MAR. To mass.
place themselves in profound silence upon the stone I MEM. Even now, we heard a tale of a villain, benches. who, ungrateful as the frozen adder, stung the bosom that had warmed him into life.
Enter COUNT RODERIC, dressed in a scarlet cork of Mar. Conrad, bear me off ; I would be away from the same form with those of the other Members. He these men,
takes his place on the most elevated bench. Con. Be at ease, and strive to sleep. MAR. Too well I know-I shall never sleep again. ROD. Warders, secure the doors ! (The doors are
2 Mem. The wretch of whom we speak became, barred with great care.) Herald, do thy duty! from revenge and lust of gain, the murderer of the
[Members all rise-Herald stands by the altar. master whose bread he did eat.
HER. Members of the Invisible Tribunal, who judge Wic. Out upon the monster !
in secret, and avenge in secret, like the Deity. are 1 Mem. For nearly thirty years was he permitted your hearts free from malice, and your hands from to cumber the ground. The miscreant thought his blood-guiltiness ? crime was concealed; but the earth which groaned
[All the Members incline their heads. under his footsteps--the winds which passed over his Rod. God pardon our sins of ignorance, and preunhallowed head-the stream which he polluted by serve us from those of presumption. his lips—the fire at which he warmed his blood [Again the Members solemnly incline their heads, stained hands-every element bore witness to his HER. To the east, and to the west, and to the guilt.
north, and to the south, I raise my voice; wherever Mar. Conrad, good youth-lead me from hence, there is treason, wherever there is blood-guiltiness, and I will show thee where, thirty years since, I de- , wherever there is sacrilege, sorcery, robbery, or perposited a mighty bribe.
[Rises. jury, there let this curse alight, and pierce the mar Con. Be patient, good Martin.
row and the bone. Raise, then, your voices, and say Wic. And where was the miscreant seized ? with me, woe! woe, unto offenders ! [The two MEMBERS suddenly lay hands on ALL. Woe! woe!
[Members sit doron. MARTIN, and draw their daggers; the Sol HER. He who knoweth of an unpunished crime, diers spring to their arms.
let him stand forth as bound by his oath when his 1 Mem. On this very spot.
hand was laid upon the dagger and upon the cord, Wic. Traitors, unloose your hold !
and call to the assembly for vengeance ! I Mem. In the name of the Invisible Judges. I HEM. (rises, his face covered.) Vengeance ! vencharge ye, impede us not in our duty.
geance ! vengeance ! (All sink their weapons, and stand motionless. Rod. Upon whom dost thou invoke vengeance : Mar. Help! help !
ACCUSER. Upon a brother of this order, who is forI MEM. Help him with your prayers !
sworn and perjured to its laws. [He is dragged off The scene shuts. Rod. Relate his crime.
Accu. This perjured brother was sworn, upon the steel and upon the cord, to denounce malefactors to the judgment-seat, from the four quarters of heaven,
though it were the spouse of his heart, or the son ACT V.-SCENE I.
whom he loved as the apple of his eye ; yet did he
conceal the guilt of one who was dear unto him ; he The subterranean chapel of the Castle of Griefenhaus. It folded up the crime from the knowledge of the tribu
seems deserted, and in decay. There are four entrances, nal; he removed the evidence of guilt, and withdrew
dated entrance into the sacristy, which is quite durk. Accu. I will.
[The Members confer a moment in whispers--something as he passes the Warder, which is answered
Eldest Mem. Our voice is, that the perjured bro Rod. How wilt thou stand before that throne, loadther merits death.
ed with the guilt of a broken oathi The blood of the Rod. Accuser, thou hast heard the voice of the as- criminal be upon us and ours ! sembly; name the criminal.
ELDEST MEM. So be it, in the name of God ! Accu. George, Baron of Aspen.
[He takes the dugger from the altar, goes sloroly [A murmur in the assembly.
towards the back scene, and reluctantly enters A Mem. (suddenly rising.) I am ready, according to
the sacristy. our holy laws, to swear, by the steel and the cord, ELDEST JUDGE (from behind the scene.) Dost thou that George of Aspen merits not this accusation, and forgive me? that it is a foul calumny.
Geo. (behind.) I do! (He is heard to fall heavily.) Accu. Rash man! gagest thou an oath so lightly?
[Re-enter the old judge from the sacristy. He Mem. I gage it not lightly. I proffer it in the cause
lays on the altar the bloody dagger. of innocence and virtue.
Rod. Hast thou done thy duty ? Accu. What if George of Aspen should not himself ELDEST MEM. I have. (He faints.) deny the charge ?
Rod. He swoons. Remove him. MEM. Then would I never trust man again.
[He is assisted off the stage. During this four Accu. Hear him, then, bear witness against himself
members enter the sacristy, and bring out a (throws back his mantle.)
bier covered with a pall, which they place on Rod. Baron George of Aspen !
the steps of the altar. A deep silence. Geo. The same prepared to do penance for the Rod. Judges of evil, dooming in secret, and avengcrime of which he stands self-accused.
ing in secret, like the Deity : God keep your thoughts Rod. Still, canst thou disclose the name of the cri- from evil, and your lands from guilt. minal whom thou hast rescued from justice, on that BER. I raise my voice in this assembly, and cry, condition alone, thy brethren may save thy life. Vengeance ! vengeance ! vengeance !
Geo. Thinkest thou I would betray for the safety Rod. Enough has this night been done—(he rises of my life, a secret I have preserved at the breach of and brings BERTRAM forward.) Think what thou my word ?-No! I have weighed the value of my ob- doest-George has fallen—it were murder to slay both ligation—I will not discharge it-but most willingly mother and son. will I pay the penalty !
Ber. George of Aspen was thy victim--a sacrifice Rod. Retire, George of Aspen, till the assembly to thy hatred and envy. I claim mine, sacred to juspronounce judgment.
tice and to my murdered brother. Resume thy place! Geo. Welcome be your sentence I am weary of thou canst not stop the rock thou hast put in moyour yoke of iron. A light beams on my soul. Woe tion. to those who seek justice in the dark haunts of mys Rod. (resumes his seat.) Upon whom callest thou for tery and of cruelty! She dwells in the broad blaze of vengeance ! the sun, and Mercy is ever by her side. Woe to those BER. Upon Isabella of Aspen. who would advance the general weal by trampling Rod. She has been summoned. upon the social affections! they aspire to be more than HERALD. Isabella of Aspen, accused of murder by men-they shall become worse than tigers. I go : poison, I charge thee to appear, and stand upon thy better for me your altars should be stained with my defence. blood, than my soul blackened with your crimes.
[Three knocks are heard at one of the doors—it [Exit GEORGE, by the ruinous door in the back
is opened by the warder. scene, into the sacristy. Rod. Brethren, sworn upon the steel and upon the Enter ISABELLA, the veil still wrapped around her head, cord, to judge and to avenge in secret, without favour led by her conductor. All the members muffle thoir and without pity, what is your judgment upon George faces. of Aspen, self-accused of perjury, and resistance to the ROD. Uncover her eyes. laws of our fraternity.
[The veil is removed. ISABELLA looks wildly [Long and earnest murmurs in the assembly.
round. Rod. Speak your doom.
Rod. Knowest thou, lady, where thou art ! ELDEST MEM. George of Aspen has declared himself perjured ;-the penalty of perjury is death !
Rod. Say thy guess. Rod. Father of the secret judges Eldest among Isa. Before the Avengers of blood. those who avenge in secret-take to thee the steel and Rod. Knowest thou why thou art called to their the cord ;-let the guilty no longer cumber the land. presence?
ELDEST MEM. I am fourscore and eight years old. Isa. No. My eyes are dim, and my hand is feeble ; soon shall Rod. Speak, accuser. I be called before the throne of my Creator ;-How BER. I impeach thee, Isabella of Aspen, before this shall I stand there, stained with the blood of such a awful assembly, of having murdered, privily and by man !
poison, Arnolf of Ebersdorf, thy first husband.
Isa. I guess.
Rop. Canst thou swear to the accusation ?
Rod. (apart to BERTRAM.) Whom dost thou mean BER. (his hand on the altar.) I lay my hand on the to call ?
[BERTRAM whispers. steel and the cord, and swear.
Rod. This goes beyond me. (After a moments Rop. Isabella of Aspen, thou hast heard thy accu- thought.) But be it so. Maltingen shall behold Aspen sation. What canst thou answer ?
humbled in the dust. (Aloud.) Brethren, the accuIsa. That the oath of an accuser is no proof of guilt! ser calls for a witness who remains without : admit Rod. Hast thou more to say?
(All mufle their faces. Isa. I have. Rod. Speak on.
Enter Rudiger, his eyes lound or covered, leaning upon Isa. Judges invisible to the sun, and seen only by two members; they place a stool for him, and unbind the stars of midnight! I stand before you, accused of an enormous, daring, and premeditated crime. I was Rod. Knowest thou where thou art, and before married to Arnolf when I was only eighteen years whom? old. Arnolf was wary and jealous; ever suspecting Rud. I know not, and I care not. Two strangers me without a cause, unless it was because he had in- summoned me from my castle to assist, they said, at jured me. How then should I plan and perpetrate a great act of justice. I ascended the litter they such a deed? The lamb turns not against the wolf, brought, and I am here. though a prisoner in his den.
Rod. It regards the punishment of perjury and the Rod. Have you finished ?
discovery of murder. Art thou willing to assist us? Isa. A moment. Years after years have elapsed Rud. Most willing, as is my duty. without a whisper of this foul suspicion. Arnolf left Rod. What if the crime regard thy friend? a brother ! though common fame had been silent, Rup. I will hold him no longer so. natural affection would have been heard against me Rod. What if thine own blood ? why spoke he not my accusation? Or has my conduct Rud. I would let it out with my poniard. justified this horrible charge ? No! awful judges, I Rod. Then canst thou not blame us for this deed of may answer, I have founded cloisters, I have endowed justice. Remove the pall. (The pall is listed, beneath hospitals. The goods that Heaven bestowed on me I which is discovered the body of GEORGE pale and bloody. have not held back from the needy. I appeal to you, RUDIGER staggers towards it.) judges of evil, can these proofs of innocence be down Rud. My George! my George! Not slain manly in weighed by the assertion of an unknown and disguised, battle, but murdered by legal assassins. Much, much perchance a malignant accuser ?
may I mourn thee, my beloved boy; but not nowBer. No ionger will I wear that disguise (throws not now: never will I shed a tear for thy death till I back his mantle.) Dost thou know me now? have cleared thy fame.—Hear me, ye midnight mur
Isa. Yes ; I know thee for a wandering minstrel, derers, he was innocent (raising his voice) -upright as relieved by the charity of my husband.
the truth itself. Let the man who dares gainsay me Ber. No, traitress ! know me for Bertram of Ebers- lift that gage. If the Almighty does not strengthen dorf, brother to him thou didst murder. Call her ac- these frail limbs, to make good a father's quarrel, I complice, Martin. Ha! turnest thou pale ?
have a son left, who will vindicate the honour of Aspen, Isa. May I have some water ?--( Apart.) Sacred or lay his bloody body beside his brother's. Heaven ! his vindictive look is so like
Rod. Rash and insensate! Hear first the cause.
(Water is brought. Hear the dishonour of thy house. A Mem. Martin died in the hands of our brethren. Isa. (from the sacristy.) Never shall he hear it till Rod. Dost thou know the accuser, lady?
the author is no more! (RUDIGER attempts to rush toIsa. (reassuming fortitude.) Let not the sinking of wards the sacristy, but is prevented. ISABELLA enters nature under this dreadful trial be imputed to the con- wounded, and throws herself on GEORGE's body.) sciousness of guilt. I do know the accuser-know Isa. Murdered for me—for me! my dear, dear son! him to be outlawed for homicide, and under the ban Rud. (still held.) Cowardly villains, let me loose ! of the empire : his testimony cannot be received. Maltingen, this is thy doing! Thy face thou wouldst ELDEST JUDGE. She says truly.
disguise, thy deeds thou canst not! I defy thee to inBER. (to RODERIC.) Then I call upon thee and stant and mortal combat ! William of Wolfstein to bear witness to what you Isa. (looking up.) No! no! endanger not thy life! know.
Myself! myself! I could not bear thou shouldst know Rod. Wolfstein is not in the assembly, and my place -Oh! (Dies.) prevents me from being a witness.
Rud. Oh ! let me go-let me but try to stop her Ber. Then I will call another : meanwhile let the blood, and I will forgive all. accused be removed.
Rod. Drag him off and detain him. The voice of Rod. Retire, lady. [Isabella is led to the sacristy. lamentation must not disturb the stern deliberation of
Isa. (in going off.) The ground is slippery - justice. Heavens! it is floated with blood !
Rud. Bloodhound of Maltingen! Well beseems [Exit into the sacristy. thee thy base revenge! The marks of my son's lance