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قراءة كتاب The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 19, No. 539, March 24, 1832

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‏اللغة: English
The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction
Volume 19, No. 539, March 24, 1832

The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 19, No. 539, March 24, 1832

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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Foix.

Bourbon returns, and the second act opens with his interview with Renée, (or Margaret,) the daughter of the Queen Mother, and sister of Francis I., for whom he really entertains an affection. In the second scene the Queen Mother declares her passion to Bourbon, who, at first supposes he is to be tempted by Margaret's hand, but finding the Queen herself to be the lure, he indignantly rejects her. The character of Bourbon in this scene is admirably brought out. The artifice of the Queen—the scorn of Bourbon—and the Queen's meditated vengeance are powerfully wrought:

BOURBON.

I would have you know,

De Bourbon storms, and does not steal his honours

And though your highness thinks I am ambitious,

(And rightly thinks) I am not so ambitious

Ever to beg rewards that I can win,—

No man shall call me debtor to his tongue.


QUEEN (rising.)

'Tis proudly spoken; nobly too—but what—

What if a woman's hand were to bestow

Upon the Duke de Bourbon such high honours,

To raise him to such state, that grasping man,

E'en in his wildest thoughts of mad ambition,

Ne'er dreamt of a more glorious pinnacle?

BOURBON.

I'd kiss the lady's hand, an she were fair.

But if this world fill'd up the universe,—

If it could gather all the light that lives

In ev'ry other star or sun, or world;

If kings could be my subjects, and that I

Could call such pow'r and such a world my own,

I would not take it from a woman's hand.

Fame is my mistress, madam, and my sword

The only friend I ever wooed her with.

I hate all honours smelling of the distaff,

And, by this light, would as lief wear a spindle

Hung round my neck, as thank a lady's hand

For any favour greater than a kiss.—

QUEEN.

And how, if such a woman loved you,—how

If, while she crown'd your proud ambition, she

Could crown her own ungovernable passion,

And felt that all this earth possess'd, and she

Could give, were all too little for your love?

Oh good, my lord! there may be such a woman.

BOURBON (aside.)

Amazement! can it be, sweet Margaret—

That she has read our love?—impossible!—and yet—

That lip ne'er wore so sweet a smile!—it is.

That look is pardon and acceptance! (aloud)—

speak. (He falls at the Queen's feet.)

Madam, in pity speak but one word more,—

Who is that woman?

QUEEN (throwing off her veil.)

I am that woman!

BOURBON (starting up.)

You, by the holy mass! I scorn your proffers;

Is there no crimson blush to tell of fame

And shrinking womanhood! Oh shame! shame! shame!

(The Queen remains clasping her hands to her

temples, while De Bourbon walks hastily

up and down; after a long pause the

Queen speaks.)

(The Queen summons her Confessor.)

Enter GONZALES.

Sir, we have business with this holy father;

You may retire.

BOURBON.

Confusion!

QUEEN.

Are we obeyed?

BOURBON (aside.)

Oh Margaret!—for thee! for thy dear sake!

[Rushes out. The Queen sinks into a chair.]

QUEEN.

Refus'd and scorn'd!      Infamy!—the word chokes me!

How now! why stand'st thou gazing at me thus?

GONZALES.

I wait your highness' pleasure.—(Aside) So all is well—

A crown hath fail'd to tempt him—as I see

In yonder lady's eyes.

QUEEN.

Oh sweet revenge!

Thou art my only hope, my only dower,

And I will make thee worthy of a Queen.

Proud noble, I will weave thee such a web,—

I will so spoil and trample on thy pride,

That thou shalt wish the woman's distaff were

Ten thousand lances rather than itself.

Ha! waiting still, sir Priest! Well as them seest

Our venture hath been somewhat baulk'd,—'tis not

Each arrow readies swift and true the aim,—

Love having failed, we'll try the best expedient,

That offers next,—what sayst thou to revenge?

'Tis not so soft, but then 'tis very sure;

Say, shall we wring this haughty soul a little?

Tame this proud spirit, curb this untrain'd charger?

We will not weigh too heavily, nor grind

Too hard, but, having bow'd him to the earth,

Leave the pursuit to others—carrion birds,

Who stoop, but not until the falcon's gorg'd

Upon the prey he leaves to their base talons.

GONZALES.

It rests but with your grace to point the means.

QUEEN.

Where be the plans of those possessions

Of Bourbon's house?—see that thou find them straight:

His mother was my kinswoman, and I

Could aptly once trace characters like those

She used to write—enough—Guienne—Auvergne

And all Provence that lies beneath his claim,—

That claim disprov'd, of right belong to me.—

The path is clear, do thou fetch me those parchments.

[Exit Gonzales.

Not dearer to my heart will be the day

When first the crown of France deck'd my son's forehead,

Than that when I can compass thy perdition,—

When I can strip the halo of thy fame

From off thy brow, seize on the wide domains,

That make thy hatred house akin to empire,

And give thy name to deathless infamy. [Exit.

The King holds a Council to appoint a successor to the Constable in Italy. This scene is of stirring interest. The Queen goads the high-minded Bourbon nigh unto madness, and at length breaks out into open insult. Lautrec the brother of Françoise, and despised by Bourbon, is named the governor. In the ceremony Francis addresses Lautrec:—

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