Landon in The Literary Gazette 1823/Dramatic Scene
Literary Gazette, 12th April 1823, Page 235-236
Ianthe — Guido — Manfred.
Ianthe. I can but weep your welcome,oh my own
Guido. Look upon yon pale lone star,—
Did I not say, when like a smile it came,
My sweet Ianthe, on the heart-wrung tears
Of the last time we met here, that its light
Was hope's fair message, and that we should meet
As we are meeting now?
lanthe. How I have watched
That silent star, and soothed me with the thought
That you were watching too! The day pass'd by,
Languid and listless; but when evening came,
It was as a new spirit rose within me,
Or I but lived when worshipping that star.
Guido. I cannot tell thee, love, how long I thought
My wearying absence in the strangers' land,
Without one thing to which thy love was linked
By old remembrance,—not one object gave
The image of thy beauty: here, each tree,
Each flower, recalls thee in associate sweetness.
This rose-tree is a favourite, the next
Was planted by your hand; your fairy feet
Have left their slight impress on yonder turf;
All round, the odour of your presence breathes;
Although the violet be gone, yet still
Its perfume lingers on the air,—and dear,
Soothing, these recollections are to love,
But the heart feels so desolate, when all
That memory fondly treasures is afar—
Oh this is absence!
lanthe. Nay, nay, I must claim
My own full share of sorrow. Do you think
That it was nothing to look round and see
Every thing changed, yet still the very same,
Then feel the change was in my heart? to live
'Mid doubts, anxieties, and feverish hopes,
And such soul sickening fears? I heard the fleet
Had left Dalmatia; and that very day
How dark the tempest gathered o'er the sky—
The wind came like a giant in its strength,
The forest pines were bowed down to the ground,
The oak, which had for ages stood, where sleep
My ancestors—the sign our banners rear—
Was blasted by the lightning, and all said
Some doomed ill was hanging o'er our race.
I only thought of thee: all day I sat
And watched the crashing trees, the flooded plains;
The night came on—the storm was at its worst—
The thunder shook the earth,—and then the flash
Glared like an angry demon, and more deep
And black became the moonless heaven; fierce gales
Went shrieking by,—in every gust I heard
The cry of drowning wretches, the last scream
Heard 'mid the closing waters.
Guido. Why, thou'rt pale!
I must not let remembered fears thus blanch
Thy cheek, mine own Ianthe; we will talk
Of nothing but sweet fancies, pleasant hopes.
Oh mark how placidly the moonlight falls
Over that jasmine palace, where the rose
Sits like a queen, with her pearl crown of dew;
Its moss and violet seat was made for love.
Come sit thee in the shade, and let me tell
Of a fair spot, which has been in my dreams
Ever since I have seen it.
lanthe. Nay, Guido, now
Prepare thee for reproach: what, think and dream
Of any thing but me? I am a miser
Of all thy thoughts and words, and looks and feelings—
Oh, I am jealous of a leaf, a flower,
A song, a star, if much thought on by thee!
Guido. But that sweet spot was sacred, love, to thee,
Thou wert the deity of its green beauty:
Its solitude was given to fond dreams
A lover's dreams of thee. It was a dell
Just midway up a wood-girt mountain; oaks,
Beeches, and darkling chesnuts, and old pines,
Amid whose leaves the wind was musical,
Guarded it round; save in one open place,
A rocky point, from whence the eye might rove
O'er cornfields in their yellow wealth, o'er plains
Where wandered a fair river, olive groves,
The sun tipt minarets, some cottages,
Heaths wandering off in barrenness, yet sweet
With bee-sought wild flowers, just a shadowy glance
Of a far city with tall battlements;
And to the east was spread the glorious sea,
Bounded and canopied by the blue sky:—
There is no entrance but by a rough path
Thro' the black forest, narrow and scarce known;
When suddenly the gloomy trees give way,
And azure gleamings come through the soft boughs
Of white-flowered myrtles and the pink acacia,
And the glade is illumined suddenly
By blushes from ten thousand crimson roses,
Nature's own beautiful and fragrant lamps;
And there is turf beneath, soft scented turf,
Mingled with thyme and violets. My Ianthe,
What a sweet home we might find there!
Ianthe. Dear Guido,
I should be happy as the lark at morning.
I do love the fresh air, the pleasant buds,
The song of the glad birds, the forest trees;
The lights the music of the carnival,
With its gay maskers, with its courtly feasts,
Its spices from the east, its Indian gold,
Are nothing worth the pageantry of summer!
There are no pearls like lilies.
Guido. Ah, my life.
Flowers are all the jewels I can give thee;
I have no castle, in whose stately halls
Vassals or kinsmen wait to welcome thee.
lanthe. Oh, Love asks nothing but the heart.
Enter Count Manfred unperceived;
My daughter! ah, and listening to some lover!
Guido. My history is slight: I am the child
Of sorrow and of shame. I can recall
Only a humble home, and but one parent—
My solitary mother, and she watched me,
And wore herself to sickness for my sake.
She was so very pale, this little hand
Wears not more perfect ivory than her cheek;
The veins ran colourless as those in marble;
Yet I have heard my nurse say, in her youth
The first rose summer offers to the sun
Had not a fresher luxury of health.
There was a languor in her large dark eyes.
Born of long suffering; yet at times a smile
Lighted them when she looked on me. Your voice,
And 'twas your voice that made me love you first,
Has the same tone as hers had—soft and low,—
So very musical, that were the sense
Inaudible, the ear would yet have dwelt
Only upon the sounds.
lanthe. Oh, how I should
Have loved your mother!
Guido. The first grief I felt
Was when her voice grew feeble, and her cheek
Burnt with a feverish hectic, and her hand,
Though fire, trembled in mine as if with cold.
Then first I heard of wrongs, of love betrayed,
(How can love be forgotten!) of the vows
That win, then break a woman's heart! She wept
In telling of the weakness which had given
Her fair fame and her happiness away
To one who could desert her. Then she left
(Her sole companion her old nurse)—the halls
Of her proud father. In the peasant's dress,
And peasant's home, none knew the high-born Blanche:
Manfred (aside.) Blanche d’Arzaline, the flattered
and the lovely,
Guido. She died. I never knew my father's name;
I should have lothed the kindness which could leave
My mother desolate. And now, sweet Ianthe!
You know me without fortune, without name,
Are you mine still?
Ianthe. Guido, I swear to thee
By the blue heaven, the moon, the flowers, the skies,
By thy dear self, by love, I will be thine,
Most tenderly, most truly!
Guido. Then to-morrow,
When our own star looks on the pale twilight,
I'll meet thee here.
Count Manfred (discovering himself.)
No, no, she cannot be your bride,—her hand
Is promised. I will give you riches—land—
You shall be to me as a son; but swear
You will renounce her!
Guido. I would die for her,—
For you, her father,—any thing but leave her!
This is but vain romance. A soldier's sword,
The music of the trumpet, soon will drive
Love from your heart. We'll meet again to-morrow,
And I will be your friend. Ianthe, come.
lanthe. Guido! Oh my dear father!
Guido. You cannot leave me! By the many vows
Your lips have uttered and your eyes confirmed,
By all my love, by all the misery
That would live in your falsehood, oh be true!
Manfred. My curse is on your love!—
Guido. Oh, my Ianthe, I live but in you,
And I will win thee, through each obstacle
By tyranny or fortune raised, my own.
My best heart's treasure![Snatches her hand.
Manfred. Wild fool! she is your sister!
L. E. L.