The Fairy of the Lake

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The Fairy of the Lake

by: John Thelwall (Author)
from: Poems Chiefly Written in Retirement (Pp. 2 - 92)  1801

A Dramatic Romance in Three Acts

Characters.

ROWENNA, Queen of Britain; a Sorceress.
EDELTHRED, and AGGA, Her attendants.
ALWIN, a Saxon Chief.
SENESCHAL.
SEWER.
A BRITISH NOBLE, attendant on the Court of Vortigern.
SAXON NOBLES, SOLDIERS, and other attendants.

ARTHUR, the British Champion.
TRISTRAM, his Esquire.
SCOUT, another Esquire.
TALIESSIN, Chief of the Bards.
GUENEVER, Daughter of Vortigern, betrothed to Arthur.
BARDS, Knights of the Round Table, NOBLES, MASKERS, &c.

THE FAIRY (or LADY) of The Lake.
SEVERAL FAIRIES, &c. her attendants.

HELA, Queen of the Infernal Regions.
INCUBUS, a frozen demon.

The FATAL SISTERS, Presiding Over
   URD,                            the past.
   VERANDI,                    the present.
   SCHULDA,                   the future.

THE GIANTS OF FROST;  DEMONS of the Frozen Regions; DEMONS of the Noon, &c. &c.


ACT I.  SCENE I.

A Stately Appartment in one of the Palaces of VORTIGERN.

ROWENNA, reclining in a disconsolate attitude.
EDELTHRED, AGGA, and other Attendants sleeping.

                      CHORUS OF INVISIBLE SPIRITS.

                  ROWENNA rise!    Thy beauteous eyes
                      From clouds of sorrow clear;
                  With Runic spell     Each woe repel,
                      And dry the falling tear.
Semi cho.  Rowenna! pride of Woden's race!
                  With sovran power, with beauty's grace,
                      And magic numbers blest!
                  The impassive spirits of the air
                  Obedient round thy couch repair,
                      To sooth the troubled breast.
Cho.  Rowenna rise!  &c.
Semi cho.  Thee, Chauntress of the Runic song!
                  The misty Realms of Frost among,
                      The shuddering ghosts obey.
 Sem. cho. Thy power the Fatal Sisters own,
                     And Hela, trembling on her throne,
                        Admits thy potent sway.
Cho. Rowenna, rise, &c.
Sem. cho.   For thee Valhalla's halls are mute;
                   Nor Wassail bowl, nor dire dispute
                       The warrior chiefs employ.
Sem. cho.  While Frea, from Asgardian bowers,
                  No more among her votaries showers
                      The genial shafts of joy.
Cho. Rowenna rise!  Thy beauteous eyes
             From clouds of sorrow clear:
         With Runic spell     Each woe repel,
            And dry the falling tear.

ROWENNA (rushing forward with great emotion.)
     Arthur!—Arthur!—Hence, away,
         Intrusive spirits of the air;
     Nor, with officious zeal, display
             How impotent immortal care.
Sem. cho.  Hear, Rowenna!—Mistress hear!
Row.     Arthur!—Arthur!—In my heart
       I feel—I feel the festering dart:
          'Tis Arthur!—Arthur! all.
      In vain Asgardia's sacred bowers,
      In vain Valhalla's shield-built towers,
      Asori's gods, and Hela's powers
         Their mission'd daughter call.
Sem. cho.  Hear, Rowenna!—Mistress, Hear!
Sem. cho.  Still thy bosom.   Dry the tear.
Sem. cho.  Snatch thy wand!—
                                  Sem. cho. Exert thy power!
Sem. cho.  O'er Asgard's foes triumphant tower,
                    And chace the troubled tear.
Cho. And chace the troubled tear.
Row. Arthur!—Arthur!—Hence—away,
         Intrusive spirits of the air,
         Nor mock me with officious care.
     In vain did Frea charms bestow,
     And Schulda o'er the realms below
         To rule with runic spell.
     In vain with Braga I repeat,
     In mystic rhyme, Asamael sweet,
         And tune the immortal shell.
     In vain by me the Saxon name
     O'er prostrate Britain towers to fame.
         Myself inglorious fall.
     The conquering sword—the magic art
     Are baffled by the apostate heart.
         'Tis Arthur!—Arthur all.

Yes—yes—'tis fruitless. Minister no more,
Ye ever-hovering spirits! 'tis in vain,
To sooth this storm-toss'd bosom. Earth and Air,
And the deep-bosom'd waters, to this wand,
Indeed, pay homage; and the elfin train
That round the harp of Braga, echoing, throng
(Swelling his magic numbers) on my steps
Wait warbling; and with minstrelsey and voice,
Obedient to my wishes, fill the air
With choral melodies. My wiley arts
Have thrall'd the soul of Vortigern; in whom
Britain, my foe, lies prostrate; and the gods
Of Scandinavia in my witching smiles
Build their ensanguin'd altars. Cambria's sons,
And all the Brutean race, already feel
The woman victor. Even the nether world,
Seasons, and circling Elements obey
My potent biddings. Cloud-compelling Thor
Must wield his thundering Gauntlet, or controul,
With lifted Mace, the Giants of the Frost
If I but chaunt The Rhyme. Yet what avails?
Arthur disdains my charms; and o'er his heart,
My spells are powerless. Yet once more I'll try.
Once more the secret dwellings of The Fates
This ken shall pierce. These feet again shall thrid
The abodes of Hela. Rise, ye ministering maids,
Shake from your slothful lids the charmed sleep,
And do your wakeful service.     [They come forward.
                                              Edelthred!
Hast thou heard aught of strange or terrible
Marring thy midnight slumber?
                                Edelthred. Nothing, Madam.
My sleep was sweet and tranquil.
                                           Row. Well—and yours?
Agga.  Full of sweet visions—gentle and serene.
Row.   'Twas as I wish'd. Oh! impotence of power!
Terrestrial, or supernal! To each eye—
All but mine own—to every wearied sense
Or Mara from some brief imperfect dream
Wakes me, delirious, on her phantom'd forms
To gaze with poweless horror. 'Tis too much.
Hell, give me more: or take the power ye gave.
Give me to triumph o'er my Arthur's heart,
And in these arms enfold him! or my spells,
Hence I forswear, this gifted wand I break,
Nor at the altars of Asgardian Gods
Chaunt hence the Runic rhyme.
                                                   Haste Edelthred;
Bring here my mystic robes: the same that erst
(While the dire Sisters join'd the fearful chaunt)
I wove in Cimbrian groves.

                    AIR by an invisible Spirit.

                Magic Woof, in Cimbrian shade
                Woven by the gifted maid,
                While the Raven-voice of Fate
                Croak'd of slaughters, fears, and hate,
Sem cho. Shuddering Horror listning near.
Row.        Tis the fame. Go: bring it here.
                   AIR as before.
                There, beneath the blasted yew,
                Where reptiles lap the poisonous dew,
                While the bird who shuns the day
                Hooted loud, and tore his prey—
Semi cho.There 'twas wove—a webb of fear!
Row.        Its die it drank from infant gore,
               And tears of mothers blotch it o'er;
               It is a mystic webb of fear.
               Haste my virgins: bring it here.

Ed. Hertha defend! What means our troubled Queen?
Row. Again, in that terrific pall, to thrid
The maze of Hela; and with potent rhyme,
Extort a boon from Fate. Can I controul
The tempest-heaving Nocca? at my will
Brandish the Thunderer's gauntlet? rend the air
With bidden storms? and from the shades of night
Evoke the wandering spirit? yet not quench,
With its desir'd fruition, the fierce flame
That preys upon my vitals? Does the power
Of magic numbers not extend to Love?
Or are our gods fastidious, to deny
An unbelieving paramour?—save such
Whom Weakness to uxorious faith may bow:
Pageants! and Vortigerns!    My Pall! My Pall!
    By that dread Fiend Unutterable! whose frown
Makes Nature sterrile, I will know my doom.
The Fatal Sisters, who, in Hela's shade,
Weave the dark woof, shall tell me all they know,
And with their magic aid me. Yet—forbear!
Earth and the shuddering elements confess
The approach of feet profane.
                                     Edel. The bugle (hark!)
Wakening the echoes, thro the distant courts
Sounds in the hurried blast.
                                   Row. Some voice, assured,
    Of evil omen seeks my wounded ear,
Big with a tale of horrors. Let it come.
What worse can greet Rowenna than the news
That Arthur scorns her passion?

                                      Enter ALWIN.
                                                   Well: how now?
Thy dark portentous brow and hurried eye
Outstrip thy tongue's intelligence, and make
Thy silence eloquent. Thou hast some tale
Of horrors and disasters. Give it breath.
I have a heart prepar'd for all the worst:
A soul that shall not falter. I forgive
Thy evil tidings, tho they should import
My father's death, the Saxon overthrow,
And Cambria's triumph.
                          Alwin. Prophetess inspired!
Thy words prevent my message. Such my news.
Hengist, indeed, is fallen: The Saxon power
Crouches to Britain. To the conflict led
By fierce Ambrosius, with Armoric aids,
Sudden they burst upon us, near the towers
Of Connisburg. Arthur's enchanted sword
Gleam'd like a pestilence; and thro' our ranks
Scatter'd dismay and death. His dragon crest
Belch'd streams of living fire; and on his breath
The dread Valkyries hung; where'er he bad,
Singling their victims.
                        Row. Arthur? Arthur?
                                                   Alw. He—
Pendragon's fiercer son. In horrid grace,
Wrathful he strode the field. His glittering mail
And youthful limbs, besmear'd with Saxon blood,
Daz'd every sense. With awful wonder fill'd,
Our hearts were palsy'd: as tho Woden's self,
Fresh from Iduna's banquet, came renew'd,
To ply the work of Fate, and his own race
Whelm in one general wreck. Meantime the king,
Your royal father—
                     Row. Met his arm; and died?—
By Arthur died?
                 Alw. Not so—that fatal deed
Ambrosius boasts—who, hoary in his hate,
And full of guile, engor'd with treacherous wound
The else-engaged Hengist: and he fell—
Fell by the Briton!—while our scatter'd ranks
Fled o'er the plain for safety—vainly sought.
Row. Frea! I thank thee. Genial Goddess! hail!
Hail the propitious omen! 'Twas thy care
That Hengist's blood stained not the hand of Arthur.
    Pursue thy tale. Some other hour, more fit,
We will select for tears. Occasions press;
And we must find prompt councils. Whether fled
The abject Vortigern?
                           Alw. From bourg to bourg
(By all alike rejected) with his suit,
Westward he fled, towards his Cambrian wilds,
A hunted fugitive: till join'd, at last,
By those who 'scap'd the slaughter, he attain'd
The heights of bleak Farinioch. There he lurks,
Hem'd by Gwrtheyrnion's towers, whose giant strength
Frowns o'er the midway steep. Thither he bore
(From his incestuos passion unestrang'd)
His fair, reluctant daughter, Guenever.
Row. She scap'd not then into the arms of Arthur?
She is secure. Revenge at least is sure:
And Love has hope! Say, hast thou aught beside
That may import my hearing?
                                        Alw. Sovereign! nought:
But that the exulting victor, to destroy
The Saxon hope, has purpose to depose
Our pageant Vortigern; and, in his place,
Crown the new idol, Arthur.
                     Row. (aside) Arthur crown'd?
And so he shall be. But not crown'd by them.
That is Rowenna's Dower: the dower confirm'd
By the three Fatal Sisters.—While I live,
Thy empire, Albion, waits my spousal love:
And Arthur, if he reigns, must reign by me.
Alwin, what else?
                    Alw. Your royal will. Beside
Nought now remains untold.
                                  Row. Then, Alwin, thus—
Haste to Gwrtheyrnion with what scatter'd powers
Your speed may gather. See the gates secur'd
Against my soon arrival. I shall bring
Such powerful succours as may best defend
The alpine fortress, should the victors dare
To press us to a siege. Away. Begone.    [Exit ALW.
    O Edelthred! O Agga! why should thus
My heart beat lighter, and the breath more free
Distend my sportive bosom? Hengist slain—
The Saxon routed!—Here is the cause of grief
For Nature and Ambition. But my soul
Is full of Love and Arthur. Frea smiles
To my best hopes propitious; and, amidst
The storms of adverse destiny, my heart
Finds anchor in her aid.

        Goddess of the genial hour!
           Hear, O! hear my votive sigh;
        And, tho' adverse Fortune lour,
           Fear and Sorrow I defy,
               Goddess of the genial hour!
        Grief may drop the transient tear,
           Wild Ambition heave the breast;
        But, if thou in smiles appear,
           All is tranquil—all is blest,
               Goddess of the genial hour!
        Fear and Sorrow I defy,
           Tho my adverse fortune lour,
        Hear but thou my votive sigh,
           Goddess of the genial hour!

Edel. And she will hear it—if we aught may judge
The future by the present. Could we hope
A fairer pledge of promise? Arthur's hand
Slew not your father.—Arthur's conquering aid
Could not redeem his Guenever.
                                          Row. 'Tis there
My fondest hopes are fix'd—Still, still she pines
In hostile bonds—still hears with steadfast hate
(Would it were not so steadfast!) the foul suit
Of that incestuous Vortigern: or writhes,
Perchance, subjected to his foul embrace,
Calling, in vain, on Arthur. I will aid
The lawless passion of this monster king,
Goading his vile desires, and urging on
To their impell'd fruition. Haply so
(For man, with sickly appetite, abhors
Oft from the trick of Fancy) Arthur hence
Shall loath her rifled beauties: She no more
Shall seem or chaste or lovely; and his eyes
Confess superior merit. Then shall soon
Adultrous Vortigern my vengeance feel;
And his polluted paramour: This hand
Shall lift my Arthur to an envied throne,
And our united sceptres blend the tribes
Of Cimbria and of Britain. Say I well?
Agga. Well: if The Fates ordain.
                                        Row. We will enquire.
And for such purpose in The Secret Grove
Chaunt we the spell. My double-visag'd Fate
(Ghastly at once and jocund) goads me on
Amidst a storm of passions. To The Grove
Initiate Virgins, and the haunted cave;
There join the fearful chaunt. And ye, unseen—
Ye shapeless spirits of the impassive air,
Lend me your minstrelsey. Yet first evoke
The oafish Incubus. While yet the bat,
Beneath the ominous mantle of the night,
Follows the beetles hum, be it his task
To scout the country round; if chance he learn
Tidings of Arthur; who, at once impell'd
By love and by ambition, will pursue
The steps of Guenever. Him should he find,
Upon the attendant train let him essay
His numbing tricks: that while they, shivering, sink
In senseless torpor, Arthur, all alone
These eyes once more may meet. Evoke the fiend.
What further I design the mystic grove
And secret cave shall witness. Join me there
Where, in my Cimbrian pall and snaky tire,
I chaunt the spell to Hertha.

        Howl of wolves, and ghosts of night,
           In the fearful chorus join,
        While The Moon withdraws his light,
        And the stars, in dim afright,
           Veil their orbs, and fear to shine.
        Hark!—they wait to swell the rite—
        Howl of wolves and ghosts of night!
                            [Exeunt ROW. EDEL. &c.


SCENE II.            Manet AGGA.

Agga. Incubus! Incubus!
Incubus, (below.) Whu-u-u! Whe-e-ether now?
Who-o-o calls so loud?
                           Agga. You know, I trow.
Incubus! Incubus!
Did you not your mistress hear?
Incub. Ye-e-e-e-yes—
Behold your shivering devil here.

The ground uncloses, and thro the chasm rises a meagre spectre, with a blue and frosty countenance, sunken eyes, frozen locks and beard, and garments covered with icicles.

Incub. (Shaking the snow from his sides.) Whu-u-u-u!
           What's the business pr'ythee now?
Agga.  Son of Frost! you know I trow.
           Did you not your Mistress hear?
Incub. Hear? O yes; there's no fear of that, I assure you. When 'tis a woman we serve, our orders are sure to be sufficiently audible! The frosts of Hela cannot plug up one's ears against the clear tones of the feminine organ. But pr'ythee now, leave off your rhyming and your incantations, and blow my fingers for me a little.—It is half a century since I have been able to breathe any thing but sleet and hailstones upon them myself.
Agga. Really I have no warm breath to spare upon so cold a subject.
Incub. Why I suppose, indeed, I am not very engaging. Some thousand years hence, when ice-creams are predestined to become an article of luxury, some lady of honour, may chance to take a liking to a joint or two, by way of stomachic: But at present, I believe, there is no great danger of my being devour'd bythe fair sex.
Agga. Not if they are of my taste, at least.
Incub. But pray, good Mrs. Journeywoman Sorceress! have you any further instructions? Any snug little commission for yourself?
Agga. Good Mr. Journeyman Devil! no.—If ever I admit any of your infernal train into my service, it shall be a devil of better quality.
Incub. Aye! aye! Mrs. You are for a good plump roasting Devil I suppose. This essence of snow and icicles might melt before the blaze of your beauty.
Agga. What, you think I have some attractions then?
Incub. Attractions! Before I descended into the regions of Hela, to have my blood converted into icicles, I should have been ready to die for you any half hour of my existence.
Ag. Were you such a Dragon amongst us in your life time?—Come, come; I suspect it was not for this you were sent to The Frozen Regions.
Inc. Why, no: offences of that sort are punished in a Hell of a very different description. In short, there is no dissembling. You know the mysteries of our faith; and the thing speaks for itself. Our fisticuff Divinities and I happened not to set up our horses together on the subject of the exquisite delight of being hacked and hewed into a thousand pieces. Not but that I could be valiant enough in my own way: for my mouth was full of big oaths; and my brow seemed as dark with danger as a thunder-cloud: till a disastrous coincidence took the sword of my renown out of my mouth, and placed it in my hand.
Ag. Ha! ha! poor Incubus! And then I suppose it was perfectly out of its element.
Inc. In short, the signal for battle was given; when suddenly a cold sweat coming over me, I slunk from the ranks; hid myself in a house of conveniency; died of apprehension, before the conflict was decided; was conveyed immediately to the Realms of Mist and Frost, and hung up for an icicle upon the eaves of Hela's palace; where I might right ruefully have remained, without remission or intermission, hope or holiday, the whole predestinated period of my purgation.—
Agga. Purgation? What, then, you do not expect to await The Twilight of the Gods in your present frozen state?
Incub. Schulda forbid! Let me see: according to my calculation, I have now—But if your invisible musicians will help me out with an accompaniment, I will describe, in a song, the year of my regeneration.

   When the twelvemonth's contention of Cent'ries is done,
   Whether eighteen be ended, and nineteen begun,
   And Learning and Science their optics shall strain
   To find some new nothing to puzzle the brain;
   Then the Fates to this world shall my essence restore,
   To shudder in Regions of Hela no more.

   O! how different the race that my eyes shall behold!
   For a soul of my kidney a true age of Gold!
   Since none for his fears can be look'd on the worse,
   Where they count for their fame not their fears but their purse
               Then the Fates to this World, &c.

   Then The Fair—Oh! how fair their sweet persons will shine,
   When our helmets and scull-caps to them we resign,
   When no grace of the form shall in vain be bestow'd,
   And nakedness self be the tip of the mode.

   Then their motions so easy, their manners so free!
    In ferae naturae you'd deem them to be;
   And Miss just in her teens, from all bashfulness freed,
   Shall now skip o'er the rope, and now skip o'er the tweed:

   O! how gay then I'll flirt and I'll flutter around,
   Where the belles of the young 19th Cent'ry are found!
   Their charms so obtrusive shall kindle a flame;
   Shall melt all the ice that now stiffens my frame;
   And I'll think, while Love's ardour shall glow in each pore,
   Of the Regions of Frost and of Hela no more.
                                                                         [Exeunt.



Scene III.

The Magic Grove; with the entrance of the Cave of Incantations—a rude and rocky chasm, overhung with shattered yew trees, and every species of gloomy and noxious vegetation. The darkness of the scene is only imperfectly interrupted by the transient glare of meteors from above, and the blue vapours,or fen damps, that play about the Magic Circle described at the entrance of the Cave. Shrieks and groans, and bellowing noises, heard occasionally in the air; &c.

ROWENNA is discovered, arrayed in her Pall and snaky hair dishevelled, and intermixed with Ivy, Hemlock, Nightshade, &c.  A FEMALE CHILD accompanies them, bearing the Pictured Drum and Double Hammer, with a rosary of Brazen Rings, and images of serpents, frogs, toads, and other obscene reptiles, used in the mysteries of Northern Magic.

Row. Strike, strike, The mystic Drum, virgin yet pure
Of passion's secret wish! from sacred folds
Of chill equatic Loomskin, lift on high
The awful Hammer, while the Brazen Ring,
Viper, and venom'd Toad, and Frog that croaks
In pools obscene, and Newt of mouldering wall
Dance o'er the pictur'd surface, and in reel
Prophetic of our wavering destinies,
Lead up The Rites.
                             Ye Demons of the Storm!
Who thro the mirky clouds with transient glare
Stoop to our incantations, or, appall'd,
Shriek in the midnight blast, with yell or groan
Swelling the chorus of the shuddering Grove,
While growls the distant bear, and in his den
The hungry wolf barks fear-chain'd!—it is well;
Ye feel my power, and own it. Aid me then
In these mysterious Rites—or ye who rive
With Thor's own bolts the groaning earth, or ye
Who to the labouring mine's combustion'd womb
Dart the contagious spark, whence Earthquake rends,
Or pent Volcano spits his sulphurous fires,
Wide wafting! for to Hela's misty realms
I force my way, and to The Fatal Three
Who weave the Webb of Destiny.     [Enter AGGA.
                                                    How now?—
Tardy and shuddering? Hast thou in thy way
Gather'd the spume-froth'd drugs, on which, o'ertoil'd,
The Bat hath crouch'd, and the Night-Swallow drop'd
Her half-churn'd morsels?—
                                  Agga. Mistress, they are here:—
But, use them not! Some hostile star prevails—
Our Gods forsake us. Never, since the hour
When, with initiate feet, I first approach'd
This mystic Circle, felt my soul such horror.
At ever and anon, as, from my speed
Pausing, I stoop'd, some ominous shriek was heard,
Or deathlier groan:—the herbs, o'erconscious, shrunk
My trembling touch; the glare of fiery eyes
Peep'd from the unhallow'd turf; and up mine arm
Darts the benumbing shock—as lighning struck!—
That three-times thrice (while shook the earth beneath)
From my full apron drop'd the unwilling store—
With shuddering toil replac'd. Forbear! forbear
The ill-omen'd spell!
                       Row. Mere womanish fear. Away!
My soul is all on fire, and I must seek
The quenching stream, or perish. Come: draw near.
Give me The Drugs. Thus from my bruising hands
I press the powerful dews. Now, strike again
The spheric Drum, and in the fawn's warm blood
Stoop, stoop and wash—'Tis done. Begin the chaunt.

                Chorus. Hela! hear!
Edel.     Queen of Niflheim's misty shade
Agga.    Frozen Hela! ghastly maid!
Row.         From thy Throne of Horrors—hear!
Edel.     By the Giants of the Frost!
Agga.    By Ising's fury-beaten coast!
Row.         By the Dome of Anguish—hear!
Edel.     By thy Table, Famine-spread!
Agga.    By thy lean unshelter'd Bed!
Row.     Threshold bleak and Chasm dread!
                 Chorus. Hela! hear!
Edel.      Furies dread of Woden's hall!
Agga.    By whom the fated heroes fall—
Row.         Dread Valkyries!—bend and hear!
Edel.     And ye Nornies—fearful three!
             Who thro Fate's dark workings see—
                Weaving the Webb that mortals fear—
             Chorus. Fatal Sisters! list, and hear!

Row. bending towards the earth, with her Wand uplifted, as in act to strike.
              Hertha! ope thy rock-rib'd side—
              Ribs of Ymer's giant pride!
              Ribs by Odin, Vile, and Ve—
              Awful Godhead! mystic Three!
              From Ymer torn, and giv'n to thee.
Adel. and Agga. Hertha! ope thy rock-rib'd side—
              Ribs of Ymer's giant pride!
                  Chorus. Hertha! hear!     [A groan below.
Edel. Hertha labours.     Soon the spell
         Shall her reluctant    womb compel.
Agga.Soon the once-tried depths below
         Again their gates shall open throw.

Row   Cease, ye maidens—cease your strains:
         Mine the talk that yet remains.
         Hertha's rock-rib'd side uncloses;
         Hell its hideous womb exposes;
         Groans, and shrieks, and plaints of woe
         Roar in troubled floods below.
         Fly ye maids!     To me alone
         Hertha's secret ways are known.

Subterranean thunder. EDELTHRED, AGGA, &c. disappear. The cavern bursts open. A swarm of hideous PHANTOMS rush, with great clamour, from the cleft; thro whom ROWENNA rushes, and descends. The PHANTOMS form themselves into groups, some of which join in a sort of fantastic and conflicting dance, striking at each other, and buffetting the air; while others join in discordant chaunt.

Chorus.     Fell enchantress! hold! forbear!
1. Phantom.'Tis in vain. We beat the air.
2. Ph.        Phantom'd Terrors glare in vain.
3. Ph.        Nature's laws no more restrain.
All three.   Desperate Magic bursts the chain.
Cho.          Hertha groans in terrene thunder:
                 Ribs of rock are burst asunder.
1. Ph.        Sulphur! 2. Ph. Nitre! 3.Ph. Miner's damp,
                  Fatal to the vital lamp—
All.             Thro the cavern'd entrails fume:
2. Ph.        And the Wolf-like Serpent's spume.
Chorus      Midgard's Serpent, fierce and dread,
                  Lifts his all-devouring head.
1. Ph.        Fiercely writhes his scaly zone.
2. Ph.        Nature trembles on her throne.
Cho.          Gods and Hela join the groan.
1. Ph.        Hark! the Hell-dog's tripple growl!
2. Ph.        Rafaen's scream! 3. Ph. And Fenrir's howl!
Cho.         Thrilling shriek! and deaf'ning growl!
1. Ph.        Fell enchantress! 2. Ph. On she goes—
3. Ph.        Eager of impending woes.
All.            To the nine-fold realm she goes!
                                 Chorus.
                     Hertha's rock-rib'd side uncloses;
                     Niflheim's gloom in vain opposes;
                     Groans, and shrieks, and plaints of woe
                     Roar, in bootless floods, below.
                They rush into the chasm, and it closes.

Scene IV.

THE ABODES OF HELA.

The stage, at first, appears involved in darkness and mist, so that the objects at the back part of the scene are not discernable. Thunder and occasional flashes of Lightning.

Row. (without.) Hela!—Hela!—Hela!
Hela. What mortal organs thus aloud proclaim,
         With triple invocation, Hela's name?
Row. (entering) Regent of the nine-fold shade!
        Shuddering Hela! Ghastly Maid!
        Bid the mists of darkness fly
        Scattering from the nether sky!

Hela. Say who art thou who thus, with daring tread,
         Invad'st the dreary mansions of the dead?

         Fear! presumptuous mortal! fear!
         Draw not to my threshold near.
         Draw not near!     Confess thy fear!
             And shun my fury ere too late.
Row. Hela! no:—I cannot fear;
        Tho the Furies all appear,
             Sprung from Lok's prolific hate.
Hela. Draw not near.     Learn to fear
         Fenrir's howl, and Hela's hate.
Row. Hela, no: I cannot fear
         Fenrir's howl, or Niflheim's hate.

        By the channels twelve that drank
        Hevergelmer's vapours dank,
        Where the direful rivers flow,
        Streams of horror, plaint, and woe!
        I have travers'd, void of fear,
       To seek the Fatal Sisters here.

Cho. Regent of the nine-fold shade!
        Shuddering Hela! Ghastly Maid!
        Bid the mists of darkness fly.

Row. O'er the Bridge where Giöl rolls—
        Fearful pass to dastard souls!
        By The Dog of hideous yell,
        By the iron grate of Hell,
        Ghastly Hela! I have come
        To tax The Fates, and know my doom.

Cho. Regent of the nine-fold shade!
        Shuddering Hela! ghastly Maid!
        Bid the mists of darkness fly.

     Trio, and Chorus, by The Fatal Sisters, &c.
Urd and |   Who art thou who thus presume
Schulda.|  To tax the Fatal Sisters o'er their loom?
Verandi.    Fly! daring mortal!
Urd.                 Daring mortal! fly.
Schulda.                 Fly! nor urge thy instant doom.
Cho.   Fly, daring mortal! fly: nor urge thy instant doom!

Row.     Hela! from the nether sky
             Bid the mists of darkness fly:
             Soon shall to your eyes appear
             One your shuddering spectres fear.
             Soon The Sisters o'er the loom
The shuttled hand shall check, and tell my doom.

             Hela! from thy nether sky
             Bid the mists of darkness fly,
             Ere the looud resistless spell
             Shake the dire abodes of Hell—
             Ere this wand's terrific stroke
             The Unutterable Fiend evoke.

Hela.     Fly! ye mists of Nörver—fly!—
             Dager claims our nether sky.
             Dread Enchantress! stop the spell.
             Rowenna!!!——Now I know thee well.

The mists dispersing, HLEA is discovered; a meagre ghastly spectre, seated on a throne of Ice, on the precipitous threshold of a palace of the same material: the whole scene exhibiting a dreary spectacle of Rock, and Ice, and Snow.

Her throne is guarded by THE GIANTS OF FROST, a race of deformed and enormous monsters, whose heads reaching the top of the stage, are involved in clouds and vapours. Their hair and beards formed of icicles: their Garments of Snow: their complexions livid, and their forms mishapen. Meteors play around their heads; and snow and hailstones issue from their mouths and nostrils. A throng of shuddering spectres around; some sauntering about; others root-bound; and all covered with snow and icicles. The DEMONS OF STORM and TEMPEST wait behind the Chair.

On the other side, in a cave apart, are seen THE FATAL SISTERS at their Loom. Sculls are fixed to the beams instead of weights; the chamber is lighted by a Lamp and a blazing Cauldron. RAFAEN, i.e. the Raven of Schulda hovers over their heads.

              Trio. URD, VERANDI, SCHULDA.

            Weave The Webb—the webb of Fate!
            Ply it early—ply it late!
            Fates of falling empires weave!
            Woes that suffering mortals grieve!
            Spindles turn; the shuttle throw;
            Treacherous joys, and lasting woe,
            In the fatal texture grow.
            Weave The Woof—the woof of Fate!
            Ply it early—ply it late!
Urd.     Take the sample from the past.
Verandi.Present sorrows thicken fast.
Schulda.But the worst shall come at last,
All.       Weave The Woof—the woof of Fate!
            Ply it early—ply it late!
            Fates of falling empires weave!
            Woes that suffering mortals grieve!
            Spindles turn—the shuttle throw.
            Treacherous joys and lasting woe
            In the fatal texture grow.
Chorus.Weave The Webb—the webb of Fate!
            Ply it early—ply it late.

Row.  Cease, fatal hags! the ill-omen'd yell forego.
Speak: for ye can. I come my fate to know.

Schul. Sorceress, yet in early bloom!
          Tax us not, but wait thy doom.
           Soon enough thy woe shall come.

Row. Whate'er the will of changeful Fortune be,
I murmur not, nor question HER decree.
Weave close the secret woof, ye baleful three.
Not for the gauds of empire now I seek:
Crowns ye may give, and settled sceptres break.
I fathom not, in this, your dire decree:
For what are crowns and sceptres now to me?
            But of Arthur I must know—
            Doom of joy?—or Doom of Woe?
Urd.  When first the fatal bowl you gave,
         And Vortigern became your slave,
         Then for sovran power you pray'd;
         And Fatal Sisters lent their aid.
All.    Then for sovran power you pray'd;
         And Fatal Sisters lent their aid.
Row  Sisters thanks: but this I know.
Veran. But now no more ambition swells:
         Thy secret soul on Arthur dwells:
         Arthur, who, in Lunvey's groves,
         Ev'n now, in wildering anguish, roves.
All.    Arthur now, in Lunvey's groves,
         In heart-consuming anguish roves.
Row.    Sisters thanks that this I know.
         But yet a further boon bestow.
         Past and present ye have shown:
         Make, O! make the future known.
         Schulda! say what you decree?
         Direfull'st of the direful three!
             Quick: divine:         Is Arthur mine?
         Schulda! say what you decree?
Shul. Woden sits on Asgard hills;
         Where Hydrassil's Ash distills
             Nectar'd drafts of dew divine.
         There alone, in accents clear,
         My Raven whispers in His ear,
             What the future Fates design.

Row. But I in lore of mystic arts excel,
And Fate's ambiguous book with ease can spell.
Speak, Fatal Sister! speak; and I'll explain:
         Tho mystery involve the strain.
Sch.   Sister—ere the memory dye,
         Speak again of things gone by.
Urd.  Once, to snare a monarch's soul,
         Fair Rowenna drugg'd a bowl.
Row.  I did—I did. Upon my knee,
         Vortigern! I gave it thee.
Sch.  When the bowl again goes round,
         And Vortigern his sleep profound
                                        Heedless quaffs—
                                Row. Hela laughs!—
         Plain the drift my sense descries.
         Sisters thanks.——He dies! he dies!
Hela  Wide my iron portals throw:
         Perjur'd ghosts descend below.
             Open throw.         To realms of woe,
         Perjur'd ghosts descend below.
Row. Plain the drift my sense descries.
         Hela thanks.——He dies! He dies!
Sch.      Then shall close     Thy jealous woes,
         Arthur's hand shall light the fire
         In which thy sorrows all expire.
Row. Propitious Schulda! thanks. But what of her—
        The Cambrian viper! hateful Guenever?
Sch.    More thy rival to confound,
         Fire and Water shall surround;
         Ruthless flames, and waves profound.
         Arthur's hand no help shall lend,
         No mortal arm the maid befriend,
         Nor aid from pitying Heaven descend.
Row. Schulda thanks. Enough of her
         My hated rival Guenever.
Hela. Wide my iron portals throw:
         Perjur'd Ghosts descend below.
                Open—open—open throw!
                       To realms of woe,
         Perjur'd ghosts descend below.
Row. Plain the drift my soul descries.
         Vortigern——He dies!—He dies!
         Arthur's hand shall light the fire
         In which my sorrows all expire.
            Hela's ghosts the joy shall feel
            Joining in the giddy reel!
            Look for Fenrir say me nay:
            'Tis Rowenna's holyday.

She waves her wand; and instantly the whole train of frozen spectres rush to the middle of the stage, and join in a fantastic dance; while all the vocal characters repeat in

                    Grand Chorus.
         Wide the iron portals throw.
         Perjur'd ghosts descend below.
            Hela's sons the triumph feel,
            Joining in the giddy reel.—
            Lok nor Fenrir say us nay:
            'Tis Rowenna's holiday.

END OF THE FIRST ACT.

ACT II.  SCENE I.

Lynn Savadan; or, Langorse Pool; by Moonlight.

                  A Dance of FAIRIES.

1.Fairy. While the Moon with silver sheen
                Spangles o'er Savadan's Lake,
             Fairies to the margent green
                Haste from grotto, bower, and brake,
                And in our lunar rites partake.
Chorus. Elves from grotto, bower, and brake,
1. Fa.    Frisk it!    2. Fa. Frisk it!     3. Fa. Frisk it!
Ch.        Frisk it round the silver lake.
1. Fa.     Nor ye who, in your golden boat,
             The water lily, love to float.
             Chacing oft, with merry Lay,
     The beams that o'er the rippling surface play,
             These our lunar rites forsake.
Sem. cho.Elves from grotto, bower, and brake—
             Fays that skim Savadan's lake—
1. Fa.    Ever gay     2. Fa. While ye may.
1. Fa.    Trip it.    2. Fa. Trip it!    3. Fa. Trip away!
Cho.      Join the dance, and join the lay.
2. Fa.     Flowers opprest by noontide heat
                 Let the breath of Fragrance cheer;
              And as we brush with nimble feet,
                 Blights and Mildews disappear,
                 And all that taint the vernal year.
Sem. cho. Disappear!—Disappear!—Disappear!—
1. Fa.      As we whisk it!    2. Fa. Frisk it!    3. Fa. Whisk it!
1. Fa.      Whisk it! frisk it! Frisk it! whisk it!—
Cho.        Let the breath of Fragrance cheer
                     The vernal year.

The LADY OF THE LAKE rises on a Throne of Spars and Coral, in a car, or water chariot, drawn by Swans.

Lady. Enough, ye elves and fairies!—ye who ride
The lunar beam, or on the surface skim,
Buoyant, of lake or rill, or thro mid air
Bestride the gossamer; and ye who lurk
Beneath my bordering flow'rets, or the leaves
Of pensile shrubs, that from Savadan's marge
Inhale their freshness.     Well have ye preform'd
Your modest functions, from the irriguous haunts,
Chacing the Sterrile Fiend, and all the rout
That hurt with anguish spells, that neither blight,
Canker, nor smut, thro all my favourite bowers,
Insect nor worm appears, of power to mar
The buds of vernal promise. 'Tis enough.
Now other cares invite; and other fears
Swell in my anxious bosom. Arthur's fate
Hangs on the tremulous balance.

From coral groves and spar-encrusted dome,
     Where, enthron'd in virgin pride,
     O'er their secret urns preside
        The sedg'd-crown'd sisters fair,
Who make the sylvan lakes their care,
                             I come.
For deep in that sequester'd home
     The voice of Anguish pierc'd my ear,
        From Lunvey's echoing groves.
There where hostile spells surrounding
(All his rising hopes confounding)
     Rack his soul with pangs severe—
                             There—ah! there—
                     Mourning——pining—
         Every blissful thought resigning—
      There bewilder'd Arthur roves.
                             For him I grieve,
       For him my coral grots I leave,
Yoke my white swans, and breathe this terrene air.
     Haste ye Fairies, haste ye then—
     Search the woodland, search the glen.
For deeds of love forego your vagrant sport,
And in my secret grotto make report.

Cho. Mistress, you shall be obey'd.
1. Fa. Sisters each your province take:
          Mount the breeze, or skim the lake:
          Thrid with care the leafy shade.
2.F. Frisk it! 3.F. Whisk it! 4.F. Trip it! 5.F. Flit it!
Cho.     Mistress you shall be obey'd.            [They vanish.

The LADY returns to her Car, and the scene closes.

Scene II.

A hanging Wood on the borders of a little Stream.

Enter INCUBUS, shaking his fingers and rubbing his hands.

Who-o-o-o! what a poor undone devil am I! When I am freezing and dangling on the eves of Hela's palace, I do nothing but sigh and pray that my nechromantic mistress, here, or some other of my terrestrial employers would be kind enough to stand in need on my assistance, and give me a blind-man's holiday, in this warmer atmosphere; yet here have I been wandering only two or three hours, and the frost in my joints is converted into so horrible a hot-ache, that I begin to wish my icicle-ship had remained undisturbed, in the pure state of subterranean congelation, where the Giants of Frost had fixed me. But the worst is, the night is almost spent, and my task not completed. A precious cataplasm will be clapped to my sores, I'll warrant, if I descend to Niflheim again with an imperfect account of my mission.
  A plague o'that drunken desperado, Tristam! one by one, I have nabbed all the rest; and laid the whole Round Table (knights, squires, and all) as quiet as Mead and Wassail ever laid them at high festival: but Lok himself (the father of all mischief) cannot get that dragon-eater out of the reach of Arthur's enchanted sword: to hazard the vengeance of which requires a little more of the fool-valiant than belongs to any devil of my kidney.—-But hold!——A plague on all blunderers! How came I not to think of that before? What sort of an angler, for a devil, must I be, when a Welchman was to be caught, not to think of Cwrw?——-Cwrw!! Cwrw!!!——Cwrw!!!!!!——But here they come. Bo-peep's the word, and then to my last shift.               [Exit.

Enter ARTHUR; and TRISTRAM, drunk, with a cag.

Arthur. Distraction! furies! whether do we rove?
On what enchanted region have we trod,
Beset with hellish fiends? Mine eyes deceive—
This is not Lunvey. These are not the groves
Where once, with songs prophetic, o'er my head
The ministering fairies danc d, touching my lips
With charm of sweetest numbers, and my limbs
(Yet in their infant swathes) with iron force
Nerving resistless. Or, if such it be,
The Saxon Demons o'er the Isle prevail,
And our Good Spirits leave us.
Tristram (turning up his cag.) Spirits! O, yes, your honour's highness!—our spirits are all gone; that's certain. Here it is, your honour's highness! Round and sleek;—just the same big belly it set out with. But it's delivered your honour's highness! fairly delivered; and so there's an end to our deliverance.
    Hollow! hollow! (knocking against it with his knuckles)—Hollow as a false friend, who preaches and moralises when Necessity is at the door: and then he rings, just like this—all his swelling words being nothing but emptiness!
Ar. Oh! Guenever! Guenever! At such a time!
They could not all desert me. Dastards all!
Chieftains renown'd for hardiest enterprise
Turn dastards on the spur?——I'll not believe it.
Trist. No, your honour's highness! nor little Tristram neither: any more than he'll believe his costrel is a perpetual spring: and that it is not, there is heavy proof in all this lightness. (Throwing it up and catching it.) Light! light!—Light as a Courtier's promise—or a Court Lady's morals.—O that a light costrel and a dark destiny should go thus together.—(As he is tossing the Costrel about he tumbles.) Seated your honour's highness!—Seated!—But what signifies seating now? The round table (Placing the cag before him)—ah! your honour's highness! The round table is quite empty.
Ar. Significant drunkard! dost thou make a scoff
And jest of my afflictions?
Trist. O Lord! your honour's highness! quite the contrary. Moralising, your honour—moralising. Inspired!—spiritualised!—What were good liquor good for, if it did not put good thoughts into one's head?
Ar. It is enchantment all. Demoniac spells
Have snar'd their feet, and Hell's suborned fiends
Have with incestuous Vortigern conspir'd
To mock my high rais'd hopes. Oh! sacred wax!
(pulling out a pair of Tablets and pressing them to his lips)
Grav'd with the sweetest words, by fairest hands—
And yet how terrible!——Dear, direful proof
Of chastest constancy!—This night—this night—
With such a cause to charm them to their oaths
Could they have fled, like recreants?
Trist. Fl-e-ed! O yes, your honour's highness; flown, I'll answer for them: but it was at second hand; as they trot when they ride o'cockhorse. I'll swear by a full costrel—(for it would be but an empty oath to swear by a costrel that was not full—and would shew me, as it were, to be but a 'squire of hollow faith) I saw the Devil fly away with half a dozen of them. I suppose if it had not been for my Guardian Spirit (lifting up the cag) I should have known myself what sort of a poney His Devilship is. And then—-ha! ha! ha! ha!
Ar. Peace, babbling Jester! Art thou too possest?
Trist. Ho! ho! ho! I beg pardon, your honour's highness—but i'faith I can't help laughing, to think—ha! ha! ha! if the Devil had laid hold of me, what a figure I should have made, charioteering between a pair of sooty wings, with two great horns in my hands, by way of reins, and a huge pair of saucer eyes before me, for lanthorns.—-Ho! ho! ho!—-What a dash!
Ar. (still grasping The Tablets, and gazing upon them with encreased emotion.) This night—this night—
The last permitted to the anxious calm
Of Innocence unviolate!—This Night
That, midst the curtain'd silence, still shall talk
Of its successor's horrors—of the hour
When the foul father lover (so decreed)
Flush'd from the riotous banquet—lust enflam'd!—
Inebriate to incest!——Hell is there!—
    He walks, distractedly several times, to and fro; then pauses—opens the tablets again, and reads.
    "This night, this night!—all means of death remov'd,
"(The last poor respite tears and prayers could gain)
"I give to thoughts of Thee, and to those vows
"Of chastest love inviolate we pledg'd
"On Usk's remember'd banks. This night (yet pure)
"I dare to think I am Arthur's. All beyond—
"All if Gwrtheyrnion's walls———But haste and save!
"Haste with thy Warrior Knights—Oh! that this breath,
"That never flows but to wing prayers to Heaven
"For thee and for thy safety—that this breath———
"But worse impends——Worse to thy heart—to mine!
"—To mine!—Oh! persecuting Heaven! that aught
"Than Arthur's safety—Arthur's sacred life
"Can be more precious to the shuddering heart
"Of his disastrous     Guenever!"
                                                     Despair!——-
"But haste and save! Haste with thy warrior knights!"
Alas! where are they? Ho! ye recreants, ho!—-
Follow me. Once again, with hopeless search,
Thro the night-thickened labyrinths let us wind,
Wakening the sullen Echoes; if perforce,
With their reverberate aid, our shouts may reach
The chance-bewilder'd straglers—-if but Chance,
Not Hell, or fouler Treachery, have sapt
Their faith till now undoubted.——Ho! what ho!
    My Guenever!—disastrous Guenever!     [Exit.
Trist. Oh! my Costrel!——my sweet, lovely——poor, miserable, empty Costrel!
Aye—There's the Devil! But for that, the adventure would not be desperate. There would still be three of us—the redoubtable Tristram, the puissant Arthur, and the all-conquering Cwrw: and what could stand before us?—Caer Gwrtheyrnion?—Pho!—nor all the Cares in the universe. Why we shouldn't care for Pandemonium itself. We'd storm old Belzebub in his grand keep; and make a rareeshow of all his family.
  Send us, ye Guardian Angels! send us but a costrel of Cwrw! of C—W—R—W. Fal de rol de rol, de ra ra, lol lol!    (Sings.)

A large cask rises out of the ground, against which TRISTRAM runs his nose as he is reeling out.

  Bawh! What have we here? Ho! ho! a cask! a cask.—The prayers of the drunken shall be heard; for they pray in The Spirit. But what is this?—Some magical inscription I suppose. O thou universal lamplightress,— thou that see'st many a thing that thy elder brother, the Sun, never dreamt of!—lend me thy spectacles awhile, that I may spell. C—W—R—W— Cwrw!!——Spell, indeed—What are your Runic Rhymes, your Riddles, your Pharmaceutrias—your Cabals, your Abracadaberas, to the magical combination of C—W—R—W? (Sings.)

            Of spells you may talk,
            Writ in ink, blood, or chalk,
    With which Wizzard and Witch have to do;
            But each Welchman can tell
            That there never was spell
    Like C—W—R—W!     Fal de rol. &c.

            With this spell, I'll be bound
            To make Nature spin round,
    As our boys with their whip-tops can do;
            And the world all so scurvy
            I'd turn topsyturvy
     With C—W—R—W. Fal de rol! &c.

Inspir'd—Inspir'd! If it be but as potent to valour as to verse, the business is done.—And where's the doubt? What but Cwrw was it, that produced so many famous heroes of antiquity, from Nimrod to Jack the Giant Killer.   (Sings.)

            O, ye heroes renown'd
            Who fought all the world round—
     O! ye Cæsars, and fam'd Alexanders!
            Pray how had ye thriv'd,
            If of Cwrw depriv'd?
     Faith you'ad been just as valiant as ganders.  Fal de rol! &c.

            If a second you want,
           Then, each foeman to daunt,
     Then, I'll tell you, my boy, what to do;
            Never fear to depend
            On the Welchman's best friend,
     On C—W—R—W. Fal de rol! &c.

Bravo! bravo, little Tristram! One draught of this genuine water of the muses, and thou wilt eclipse all the Knights of the Round Table, and bear away the prize, in the bardic circles, from Taliessin himself. But how to get at it? Oh! A spile!—A spile!—I'll answer for it then it shall not be spoiled. (Pulls out the spile, and the ale begins to run.) Genuine! genuine! entire! I'll be sworn. A choice drop out of the celestial cellar; brewed by my Guardian Angel for his own private drinking. Let me take it devoutly. (Kneeling) Now, now shall I be famous, or the devil is in it. (Drinks. The head of the cask flies off, out of which INCYBUS rises, and seizes him by the ears.)
Inc. Aye, and in it he is: little as you might expect it.
(The cask sinks down and leaves Tristram in the clutches of INCUBUS.)
Trist. (Shivering.) Who-o-o who are you, and be-e hanged to you?
Inc. A devil!
Trist. The-e-e devil you are. Wha-a-at the devil makes my teeth chatter so then? In such hands, I should have expected to be frying in my own grease.
Inc. Aye, that's because you don't know what sort of devil you have to deal with, my little Tristram. I am none of your bon-fire devils come to entertain you with squibs and crackers, and birth-day rockets and illuminations: but a good thorough icicle devil, from the regions of Hela: where I have been freezing, under the North Pole, for more than half a century.
Trist. Fre-e-e-ezing with a ve-e-e-engeance!  Zounds I am fro-o-o-o-ozen too. I-i-i-i—can't get to my sw-o-o-o-ord.

                     Ar-r-r r-Arthur!
Inc.   Vainly you for Arthur call:
         Your very words are frozen all:
            They shall never reach his ear.
Trist. Ar-r-r-r Arthur! Arthur! co-o-o-ome away.
         I am lo-o-o-o-lost if yo-u-u-u delay.
Inc.     Trust me he shall never hear.
            Your words are frozen.
Trist.         So-o-o-o I——fear.
Inc.    Thus upon my prey I seize.
Trist.  I freeze——I freeze——I fre-e-eze!
                   Ar-r-r Arthur!—-Ar-r-r Arthur.
Inc  . 'Tis in vain      Your lungs you strain.
Trist.         I-i-i-i——I see it plain.
Inc.    Vassal hind!    our voice I bind—
Trist.             So-o-o-o I find——
Inc.    In Vindsualer's icy chain
Trist.         W-w-w-w-wind! wind swallow!
                 Cold and hollow!
Inc.    Grim Vindsualer! Winter's sire!
Trist.  Ar-r-r-r Arthur! Arthur! O-o-o-oh! a fire!
Inc.    'Tis in vain; Fruitless pain; Thus to strain.
          Arthur, Arthur cannot hear.
Trist.  So-o-o-o-o I fear.     Inc. It is clear.
          So, little Tristram? come you here.
             My potent mistress thus to please,
             Upon my shivering prey I seize!
Trist.  I fre-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-ze!
Cho. of Knights without. We fre-e-e-e-e-e-eze!

TRISTRAM sinks down in a state of torpor; overpowered by the benumbing influence of the Demon; and INCUBUS drags him off the stage.

                 Re-enter ARTHUR.

Tristram! Tristram!—Art thou also gone?
Vanish'd thro air? or swallow'd by the earth?
The last of all my host! Infernal fiends!
Are there no means to reach ye? Out good sword!
Whose tenfold temper, steep'd in mystic dews
By the fair regent of Savadan's lake,
No goblin spell resists. On stocks and stones,
And each ambiguous thing my eyes shall meet,
I'll try its force. If chance some lurking fiend
Start up reveal'd; ere now this arm, unstaid,
Hath tam'd such foes, and to their hostile hell
Dismiss'd them howling. Nerve it now, ye powers
Who smile on virgin innocence. I strike
In Nature's cause; for love and Guenever!     [Exit.

SCENE III.

Enter Fairies.

1.Fa. Sisters! Sisters!   2.Fa. Whist ye! Whist!
1.Fa. Tell me—-tell me what ye list.
3.Fa. Things of moment hover nigh.
1.Fa. Who can read them.  2.Fa. I.   3.Fa. And I.
Cho. Things of moment hover nigh.
1.Fa. Sisters! Sisters!   2.Fa. List ye!—List!
3.Fa. Tell me fairies what ye wist?
1.Fa. Tell me what ye read on high?
2.Fa.  Fading stars  , 3.Fa. And morning nigh.
1.Fa.  Who can see it?   2.Fa. I.   3.Fa. And I.
Cho.   To the Grotto——haste away.
4.Fa.  You have seen it?  1.F. Aye!   2.F. Aye!   3.F. Aye!
Cho.   To the Grotto whisp away.
1.Fa.  Frisk it!    2.Fa. Whisk it!
4.Fa. Trip it!    1.F. Whip it.
4.Fa. To the Grotto——flit away!
Cho.  What we've witness'd there display.        [Exeunt.

SCENE IV.

The Lake, seen in a new aspect. The Sun rising above the neighbouring mountains.

           Enter ROWENNA [attended.]

The shades of night disperse, and o'er the hills
(The Eastern bound of Cambria) Balder's steed
Rushes with reinless neck, and to the winds
Gives his bright mane of orient, streaming far
Thro the illumin'd sky. The dazzling ray,
With tint reflective, over stream and lake,
Plays with the morning breeze; and leaf and flow'r,
Moist with the tears of evening, bend surcharg'd
With mimic radiance: every crystal sphere
Pencil'd with rays minute—as tho instinct
Each with its fairy fun—a fairy world.
'Tis splendour all, and gladness—All but here,
Where one lov'd object, filling every thought,
Blots out Creation. Sound nor sight can please,
But what relates to Arthur: and this hope
Of quick possession, from the Fatal maids,
With poignant expectation but enflames
The frenzy it should sooth.

        In vain empassion'd Hope I feed
            With promis'd boons of hovering joy:
        The expected bliss, by Fate decreed,
            Doubts and chilling fears annoy.

        In vain the empassion'd heart to ease,
            The splendid scences of morn I trace:
        Whate'er the raptur'd eye should please,
            Doubts and chilling fears deface.

        Distracting doubts, and chilling fears
            What touch of sense can charm away?
        A blank the smiling dawn appears:
            And mute to me the vernal lay.

        Propitious Goddess! hear my pray'r!
            Nor long the promis'd bliss delay:
        The smiling morn shall then be fair,
            And Rapture tune the vernal lay.

Near to this spot, among the bordering woods—
So sung the Fatal Sisters (and the song
But now the oafish Incubus confirm'd)
My Arthur roves, now isolate. O guide
His steps, benignant Frea! that mine eyes
May gaze to fulness, and my pleaded love
Essay his secret heart. 'Tis heard. He comes:
With what a tempest gathering on his brow!
Yet lovely in his anger. We'll observe
A while, unnoted, till the storm is spent:
Then, o'er the waves subsiding, Love shall smile;
And woo The Bird of Peace.                    [They retire.

                     Enter ARTHUR.

                                  Arth. 'Tis fruitless search—
I toil myself in vain. Enchantment here
Dwells not—or dwells beyond the boasted reach
Of gifted countercharm.   And, lo! the Sun,
Climbing his southering arch, with gilded smile,
Mocks at my bootless rage; while grove and vale,
Mountain, and headlong stream, and placid lake
Shine in the record of my baffled hopes,
My shame, and my distraction.
                                      Row. Queen of smiles!
Who blend'st consenting hearts in mutual bliss,
Be it my talk to sooth him,
                                Arth. Ye twin heights
Of bleak Farinioch!—Ye whose alpine heads
Catch the first rays of Morning! I had hopes,
Ere down your sloping sides encroaching light
Had chac'd the lingering shadows, o'er your brow
(Girt with my warrior knights in firm array)
To have pour'd the shout of battle; on the walls
Of doom'd Gwrtheyrnion, like the vollying cloud,
To have burst in direful thunders; broke the chains
Of Saxon usurpation; from the rape
Of threaten'd incest snatch'd the weeping maid,
And hung the wreaths of Love on Glory's fane.
Row. Empire, and Love, and Glory! Frea, hear—
Make them the three-fold dower, "When Authur's hand
"Shall light the flame in which my woes expire!"
I feel consenting Heav'n. Some whispered voice
Tells me the prayer is heard:—perchance the maid
Whom frequent The Propitious Goddess sends
To cheer the love-lorn votary. (She comes forward.)
                                                Arthur, hail!
One not to Grief unknown your grief's would heal.
Arth. (wrapt in soliloquy, and not observing her.)
Sweet bud of virgin innocence! shall HE,
The incestuous father, blast thy opening charms,
And rifle thy pure fragrance? while mine arm
(Awful in foriegn conflict) here, at home,
Sinks palsied, and, in Love's,—in Nature's cause,
Hangs powerless by my side!——Oh Guenever!
Soul of my soul!—Oh charms, above all charm!
Trancendent in their loveliness! once deem'd
My sole sequester'd treasure!—Paradise
Of all my thoughts! and of my nightly dreams
Sole visitant—when, pure as winnow'd snows,
That from the peaky Vans, till spring matures,
Gleam on the dazzled traveller, thou cam'st,
With funny smiles of sanctity and love,
Blessing my pillow'd slumber.—Guenever!
Hope's vital fountain!—
               Row. (aside) Progeny of Lok!
Does Fenrir howl this discord in mine ear?
Or charnel Grymer bark?—What sounds are these?
Where is thy promise, Frea?——Schulda, where
Thy hopes oracular?
                          Arth. Oh! Sweet of Sweets!
Personified perfection!—tint! and form!
And types of inward excellence! that shines
Thro the transparent veil. Eyes! lips! and cheeks
Vermeil'd with angel modesty! and swell
Of soft ingenuous bosom, yet unsunn'd
By Love's presumptuous gaze!—all Vortigerns?—
Incestuous Vortigerns!
                            Row. Can I bear this?
Furies of Hela's shades! Ye Fiends of storm!
What are your tempests to the tempest here?
Are these my hopes? Down, down, my struggling soul,
And trust The Fates. Be calm; or thou art lost.
                                                [She retires.
Arth. With what a lengthen'd stride the lustful Sun
Hastens the hour of horrors; towards the couch
Of western Thetis straining, ere as yet
The blush of parting from her orient cheek
The winnowing winds have brush'd.
                                                         Check, check thy speed!
Restrain thy bridegroom haste: awhile forego
The fiery track, 'till pitying heav'n afford
Means of preventive vengeance: from the clouds
That curtain thy repose, lest Hesper thrust
His guilty lamp, to mark the fated hour,
And light the tyrant Vortigern to deeds
That make Hell tremble.

ROWENNA (re-entering, with EDELTHRED, at a distance.)
                                     Passion shakes him still:
But I am calm, in confidence renew'd,
And wait predicted bliss.
                              Arth. My pray'rs are vain.
I war with woman's weapons: fall'n—reduc'd
To woman's impotence: with senseless brawl
Disturbing the calm elements, that laugh
My rage to scorn. Come then, thou sullen Calm
Of conscious desperation, thro my soul
Breathe thy narcotic influence—steep each nerve
In opiate dews, and o'er each maddening sense,
Bewilder'd, from their chilling urns pour forth
Thy inanescent torpors, till no more
Reflection wakes, and dull Oblivion drop
The vail by Fancy lifted.
                Row. (aside.) Be it so,
Benignant Frea! then to other scenes,
Joyous, awake reviving Consciousness,
Made happy in the change!
                                 Arthur. Hear, hear them not—
Hear not the shrieks, my soul, that, thro the gloom,
Rending Gwrtheyrnion's towers, with vain appeal,
Call on the name of Arthur.——Rest thou here,
My wearied soul—rest here; even on this oak,
Which, ere matur'd, the lightning's fork hath scath'd,
Or Whirlwind's arm lopt brief:—here sit and muse
In moralising vacancy, abridg'd
Of vital virtue; like this sapless trunk,
To lift no more the flourishing head to heaven,
Or spread the arms of shelter.
                                       Row. Edelthred,
The storm is past.—List how to murmurs soft,
And wailings inarticulate, subsides
The roaring surge of passion. Shall I speak;
Or wait the heavings of these waves, that yet
Would lash themselves to stilness?
                                               Arth. You, ye Pomps
Of unavailing war—fire-plumed helm,
And burnish'd shield emblazon'd; and thou gift
Of her my sometime guardian, lie ye there,
Till the slow rust consumes; or o'er your fame
The monumental weed, with unshorn head,
Bends vailing: for no more shall Arthur's arm,
That fail'd to rescue Guenever, descend
On dint of meaner argument to try
Your charmed temper.

He throws away his helmet, his shield, and his enchanted sword; and, seating himself in a disconsolate attitude, upon the shattered Oak, continues to pore upon the ground, in vacant agony.

                          Row. Past my best hopes!—
Propitious Frea! now the webb untwines
Spun by The Destinies. The magic sword
Falls from his grasp, unconscious:—now no more
From power of Runic verse, or magic spell,
Or from Rowenna's charmed wand exempt.
My Fates prevail. Agga! my rod—my rod!

[Enter AGGA, with the wand. ROWENNA waves it over the head of Arthur; and HE sleeps.]

Sleep on his troubled lids awhile descend,
Till we the charm of Runic numbers end.

                   Elves who shun the chilly moon!
                   Demons of the sultry noon!
Response|  Whose the voice that now ascends
of Spirits  | The abodes of Alfheim?
Edel.                                                Hers who rends
                  With spells the pitchy vail of Night—
Agg.           And blots the setttled orbs of light.
Row.          Demons of the sultry noon!
                             My call attend.
Resp.        Soon we greet thee—mistress, soon.
Row.         But not in gorgon pomp descend.
Edel.         Far hence, ye haggard forms of Fear!
                    Horror, vail'd in mirky brow,
                 Rage, that scorns the Pitying tear,
                    Griefs, that low to Hertha bow.
                 Other forms than these must move
                    Soft content,   Sweet content—
                  Soft content and mutual love!
Resp.        Other forms than these shall move
                 Soft content and mutual love.

Agg.          Haste in dimpled smiles array'd
                 Such as sport in Frea's train,
                 When she tempts the blushing maid,
                      Half afraid,    To the shade,
                    Sighing, dying, where the swain
                 Fears the promis'd bliss delay'd.
Resp.       Such the smiling forms that move
                Soft content, and mutual love.

Row.         Thus, to weave the mystic chain,
                    Demons of the Noon repair:
                But to vulgar eyes remain
                    Viewless as impassive air.

A troop of DEMONS rush on the stage, in the semblance of winged boys, crowned with wreaths of flowers, and arrayed in effeminate apparel.—Strings of roses in their hands; with which they link themselves together, in intricate circles, and dance round ARTHUR, as he sleeps. Others play with his armour, and one, of superior size and appearance, takes possession of his sword.

Row. The charm of Runic numbers now complete—
From Arthur's eyes ye drowsy fumes retreat.
Awake to Joy—for every joy is here
To charm the eye and sooth the listening ear.

Cho.     Joy sincere     Hovers near;
            Wake to see; and wake to hear.

Arth. What antic troop are ye, whose mid-day dreams
Disturb a wretch's slumbers? Hence! Avaunt!

He endeavours to disentangle himself. They encircle him with their fillets, &c. Singing the following Glee.

           Doughty hero! lay aside
           Sullen looks and martial pride:
               Love and Pleasure wait you here.
                   Love and Pleasure,
                   Without measure,
                   Ope their treasure:
               Melting Love, and Joy sincere!
Cho.       Love and Pleasure revel here.

Arth. My Sword! My Sword!

They laugh and dance around him; twining their fillets closer and closer: and repeating, in chorus.

           Doughty hero! lay aside
           Sullen looks and martial pride:
              Love and Pleasure revel here.

Arth. Distraction! Infamy! insnar'd! inthrall'd!
Bound in a fillet, like some harlot's toy!
This —only this, was wanting to complete
My sum of wretchedness.
                               Row. Of rapture say:
For such I come to offer. Generous Arthur!
Too long by an unworthy flame inthrall'd
To an incestuous wanton: lo! my Charm
Shall set you free: and on a worthier choice
Empire and Love await, and deathless Fame.

In the bosom of youth say what wishes can glow
That my power cannot grant, or my favour bestow?
These beauties that monarchs have struggled to gain,
I offer unask'd.—Shall I offer in vain?
No; heart with heart meeting, and clasp'd in these arms,
Your bosom shall throb to soft passion's alarms.
         Heart to heart fondly beating!
         Our vows still repeating!
Reclining! Resigning To passions alarms—
Our bosoms still throbbing!—enfolding our arms!

Then the sceptre of Britain, by Schulda decreed
To await on my love, I present as thy meed.
These beauties that monarches have struggled to gain,
I offer thus dower'd.—Can I offer in vain?
While thus, with heart meeting, I stretch forth my arms,
Ambition and Beauty uniting their charms,
         Can your heart coldly beating,
         From Rapture retreating,
Disdaining! Refraining From passions alarms,
An Empire relinquish, and fly from these arms?
Then my magic shall aid, and my verse shall record
All the deathless exploits of your lance, and your sword;
And the glory that heroes have struggled to gain
I offer secure.—Shall I offer in vain?
No; heart to heart beating, and clasp'd in these arms
Love, Glory, and Empire shall mingle their charms.
         Heart to heart fondly beating!
         Our vows still repeating!
Reclining!    Resigning    To passions alarms
Our bosoms still throbbing!—enfolding our arms!

Arth. Sorceress of Elb! devoted Britain's curse!
Hence with thy wanton chant. Tho thus inthrall'd—
Betray'd by Love's affliction (sentient there
Beyond a maiden's softness) in these bonds
Powerless I stand, yet can my soul disdain
Thy blandish'd witcheries. A Crown from thee?
Love, Glory, and Ambition! Are they things
Of such abhor'd conjunction as to blend
With thy pollutions?—I'd abjure them, then—
Flee to some hermit's cave—unsex myself,
And, in the mirkiest mine, drudge out, in toil
Obscene, and servile bonds, the dregs of life
Dishonour'd. For the World to Chaos runs—
The blessed Sun no more his lustrous beam
Sheds on created order, if such gifts
Depend upon such givers.
                                 Row. Down my heart!—
Injurious Arthur! even this from thee,
Rowenna's love can pardon.
                                     Arth. Love!—Thy Love?
The love of Vortigern's polluted wife?
Row. The love of her who was, erewhile, the wife
Of the polluted Vortigern. But crimes
Like his dissolve the settled charities
Of conjugal affiance.
                        Arth. O! no doubt
With Purity like thine. And he who (urg'd
By lures, by incantations, and the bowl
Spic'd with lascivious philters) made thee room
For royal spousals in a murderer's bed—
He who, seduc'd by thy idolatrous faith,
Forgot the chaste affinities that link
The social frame of Nature—
                                   Row.—Speak—Speak out.
Why does thy struggling soul forbear to name
What yet it dwells on most?—He whose vile lust
Makes wanton revel in a daughter's arms—
(The arms of Guenever!) deserves to pay
The destin'd forfeit of his crime, and hers.
Arth. His crime and Hers! Makes wanton revel! Hers?
He has not sure—
                      Row. No sure. The diligent speed
With which she scap'd his custody, what time
(Dreadful in Saxon slaughter) you pursu'd
This father lover headlong thwart the realm,
Proves with what fix'd abhorrence she regards
His lawless love, and how prepar'd she stands
To ACT the virgin coyness she professes.
Arth. Distraction! Furies!
                                 Row. What if now my art
Should stretch thy vision thro intruding space—
Rendering the opaque of matter to thy sight
Pervious and clear (for so by spells I can,)
And shew thee thy delusion—shew, reveal'd,
Their present act! and in what amorous folds
They wanton, shameless?
                                 Arth. Give me first my sword;
Touch'd by whose virtue each delusive birth
Of magic dies—abortive: else thy spell,
Mocking the couzen'd senses, might betray,
And damn me with illusion. Easier far
To clothe some air-drawn phantom in the form
Of her thy hate calumniates, than to pierce
With stretch of human ken (however sharpen'd)
Yon mountain's, peaky mass, that bars the fight
Towards Gwrtheyrnion.
                                    Sorceress! dost thou blench
The late-flushed cheek, and, with abated eye,
Admit detection?   Yes; thou stand'st reveal'd.
    Henceforth thy arts at lower quarry fly;
Nor think to taint, with nechromantic frauds,
The fame of Guenever, whose virtue towers,
(Transcendent, like her beauty) far above
Thy foul contaminations: like the orb
That rules the tranquil night—lustrous and pure!—
That on the wolfish howl of Calumny
Smiles, and shines on, unalter'd.
                                 Row. Death to Hope!
This constancy appals me: and my soul
Scarce in The Fatal Sisters more confides,
Or Frea's whisper'd promise. Yet remains
One only effort. Bind him fast, ye elves,
With your enchanted braids. His eyes shall see
Within Gwrtheyrnion's walls—his ears shall hear
What distant he regards not.
                                             Yes, by Hela! (aside.)
Charm-bound from voice or motion, he shall view
The consummated rape; and his sick soul,
Loathing what now he dotes on, shall resign
To her predestin'd fate this hated she—
This vaunted Paragon. Then, Vortigern,
Thy Cup awaits thee; and my Arthur's hand
Shall light the flame in which my woes expire.

                               My Fate is in my hand.
                   I feel my kindling passions move,
                   Great with Vengeance, great with Love!
     Prophetic scenes of promis'd rapture rise;
                       Doubts disperse, and hopes expand.
                   Away with suppliant sighs!
                   Hope returns: Dejection flies:
                   I feel the kindling passions rise:
                               My Fate is in my hand.

As they are binding ARTHUR, a symphony of soft music is heard from the Lake. THE LADY rises in her Car. THE DEMONS drop the sword, &c. in great consternation; and dispersing, are seen flying thro the air, in their proper appearances of deformity; with a confused and fearful clamour. ROWENNA and her Attendants run out on the opposite side.

Lady. Goblins avaunt! nor impious, thus profane
My sylvan confines and irriguous reign.
   And thou, brave Prince! behold again restor'd
Thy ravish'd freedom, and thy magic sword:
For; not forgetful of my former love,
Your griefs afflict me, and your dangers move.
Your weak despair yourself will freely blame:
Go,—force your pardon in the field of fame.
Your Knights and Squires already marshall'd stand,
By me redeem'd, and wait for your command.
Refresh'd and vigorous from the genial right,
They burn impatient, and demand the fight;
Not far remote from yon embowering screen.
My instant power shall waft you to the scene.


SCENE V.

She waves her trident; and the scene instantly changes to a thicket at the foot of The Beacons.

THE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE appear as just rising from their repast.—TALIESSIN and other BARDS—playing on their harps. Horses ranged on each side of the stage, and the 'Squires holding them.    ——Flourish.

As the KNIGHTS perceive ARTHUR, they flock around him; and TALIESSIN sings the following Air—

          Arthur comes, to Britain dear:
             Bid the brazen trumpets blow.
          Led by him, we cannot fear
             Civil rage or foreign foe.

           CHORUS of Bards and Knights.

          Arthur hail! to Britain dear:
               Loud ye brazen trumpets blow.
           Led by Thee, we cannot fear
              Civil rage, or foreign foe.          [Flourish.

Arth. No thanks, my gallant comrades! 'Tis no time
For verbiage now. We'll write our courtesies
Deep on the foemen's backs. Gwrtheyrnion falls.
My sword is out. The word is—Guenever.
                                           [They draw. Flourish.

Tal.   Let the streaming banner fly.
        Wave your flaming falchions high.
        Guenever, and Victory!

Cho. See the streaming banner fly.
        See our falchions flaming high.
        Guenever, and Victory!

Lady. Go, friends of Virtue, Honour, Justice, Love!
Confirm your Glory, and your worth approve.
To higher powers I now resign my care,
Then seek my sparry Grot and coral Chair.
             Thee—fire-eye'd Seraph!—thee,
                 That, on thy saphir throne,
                            Among The Spheres,
         With ever-wakeful ministry,
             Brac'd in adamantine zone,
             Mak'st sea-girt Albion's cause thy own—
                Thee, whom the Warrior Host reveres!
                Thee, whom the bleeding Battle fears!
                            On thee I call.
             As oft thy guardian care hath spread
    The shield of safety o'er the Patriot's head,
        Bidding the iron tempest vainly fall,
             Propitious now on Arthur smile,
        And guard the warrior boast of Britain's isle.
From Foes uplifted mace, and Treason's secret thrall.
Cho. Thee! whom the warrior host reveres—
        Thee! whom the bleeding Battle fears—
                    On thee we call!

Tal.   Spread the fervour—spread the song,
        Spread the martial flame along,
           Rush to fight with loud acclaim;
          Warm'd by that Seraphic Power
   Who, high-enthron'd in empyrean bower,
       Watchful for Albion, joys to wield
                            The sword of flame;
          And the adamantine shield,
       Amid'st the direful conflict, spreads
          O'er the consecrated heads
       Of chiefs devote to patriot fame.
Chorus. Spread the fervour—spread the song—
            Spread the martial flame along.

Ar. Sound drums and trumpets.—Bid the martial fife
Pierce the charm'd ear of Valour. Sound the charge.
The cause is Freedom, Love, and Guenever!

Chorus. Wave the falchion—couch the spear—
                 Blow the brazen trumpet, blow.—
              Arthur leads: we cannot fear
                Civil rage, or foreign foe.

The LADY OF THE LAKE descends, while THE KNIGHTS march across the stage in order of attack amidst a flourish of martial instruments.

                     END OF THE SECOND ACT.


ACT. III. SCENE I.

The inside of the Castle Gwrtheyrnion. Several servants cross the stage; bearing boughs and strings of flowers, dishes, Goblets, &c. as in preparation for a sumptuous banquet.

Enter TRISTRAM and SCOUT.

Trist. Well, here we are, Scout, sound wind and limb, within the Castle. Our adventure begins under most happy auspices. Our tale of desertion passes muster, without suspicion. Our proffered assistance seems to be very acceptable: and these preparations betoken no meagre reception. One would think we had followed the heel of Victory, rather than trod on the
toe of approaching Action.
Scout. Toe! brother Tristram! why 'tis the very CORN we have trod on, to tell my mind o' the matter. Would we were well thro with it. It is a project big with dangers.
Trist. Big with water, like a dropsy, you well-hunter! You swill your coward Fears with the draught of Temperance, as you call it, till every kilderkin of apprehension becomes a butt; while I, with more inebriate wisdom, never see dangers, but by reflection, on the outside of a goblet, or at the bottom of a well polished tankard; where the convexity of the medium diminishes their proportions and shrinks them into insignificance.
  But away to your task. There is no time to lose.And as Providence has blest thee with a fine lying face of thy own, honour thy creator by making the most of it.
Scout. Never fear me. Remember but your own part as stoutly.
Trist. Mine. Pho! my memory is on the edge of my sword:—keen and durable. Do you but lie and wriggle and intrigue through the first part of the business—if I do not fight thro the other, may I never be drunk again with the 'Squires of the Round Table. So away to your quirks and your quibbles, and contrive to give the princess Guenever an item of what is in agitation. Remember—the lone tower is the place. You will find my Sword and me at the draw bridge, at the time appointed. 
                                                                [Exit SCOUT.
In the mean time, as I am no dab at intrigue, I will endeavour to kill time, till the time of killing arrives, with some fool's sport among these scullions.                            [Exit.


SCENE II.

The Servants, &c. still continue crossing the Stage.

             Enter ROWENNA, musing.

         "When the bowl again goes round,
         "And Vortigern his sleep profound
                            "Heedless quaffs!"—
O! impotence of memory! to o'erlook
The fated sign, and, with disordered speed,
Anticipate my destinies! For this
My Gods forsake me: to the adverse power
Of dull Savadan's elfin regent else
Not obvious. But with happier omens now,
And preordain'd progression, I advance
The twofold work of Fate. Why aye—proceed
Ye menial herd—Mechanic instruments—
Unconcious pivots in the state machine
With which the powerful work!—prepare the feast—
Dress up the joyous hall, with boughs, and braids
Of flaunting fragrance—hung be every seat
With sweets coronal; and the banquet heap
To feign'd Conciliation: nor suspect
What Fate and I determine. Vortigern!
Now feed thy soul voluptuous. Haste—prepare
To revel out thy last: for, even now,
The bowl is pregnant; and the ambrosial draught
Teems with thy fate matur'd. Soon—soon he quaffs—
Quaffs his last sleep profound. Then comes the crown
Of all my feverish hopes; and Arthur's hand
Lights up the flame in which my woes expire.

    But, lo! the Banquet waits. I go to greet
At once the nuptial, and funereal treat.
Yet, ere on Frea's name I dare to call,
Descend ye handmaids of the shield-roof'd hall.

            Sisters three, in fearful state,
            Who at Valhalla's banquet wait,
                                 Watching the nod
         Of him, supreme, The Warrior God,
             Who, midst the genial rite,
While blithe the amber goblet circles round,
         Thro you, inflicts the destin'd wound,
                 And thins the ranks of fight!—
         On you, who wait by Woden's side,
            (The dastard's dread, the warrior's pride)
                                                            I call—
            To hover round Gwrtheyrnion's hall,
And o'er the funeral—nuptial feast preside.     [Exit.

SCENE III.

Enter TRISTRAM, armed with sword and Target; The SENESCHAL, and a SEWER.

Trist. And so we are to have feasting before fighting? master Seneschal!
Seneschal. Aye—and good reasons there be, master Newcomer.
Trist. Aye—I hope the Raisins are good, master Seneschal, or they will make an ill part of the desert. But, for reasons less eatable, which be they?
Sen. They be three in number, master Newcomer.
Trist. Hem!—Three!—But three is a favourite number, I believe, among you Scandinavians.
Sen. True, master Newcomer—and for good reason. It is mystical and sacred. For example—there be three sons of Beör (Woden, Vile, and Ve) who knock'd the giant Ymer o' the head, created the world out of his carcase, and set his brains a flying thro the air for clouds.
Trist. Hum!—A hum! I can smell it. (Aside.)—A pretty piece of flesh, at this rate, your Ymer must have been, master Seneschal.—And yet, upon second thoughts, he was but a moody, muddy, addle-headed sort of a giant, either; or his brains could not have been converted to such a use.
Sen. Then there be three Fatal Sisters.
Trist. Aye—three Witches, as one might say, master Seneschal! the eldest of which, by the way, is no Witch, i' my way of thinking; for she only fortells what is past: carrying her eyes behind her, as it were.Strait forward she cannot see so far as her nose. And, as for the second, (by your account of her) she has no more foresight than a hare: and yet, she seems more indebted to her eyes than her understanding for her reputation in the world. Her glances go, bolt shot, in all directions, thro all impediments of space and matter: like a lance thro a battered buckler. She can see all the blemishes that a maid hides with her mantle, or a batchelor under his gabardine, as plain as a carbuncle on a nose of four inches; but as for how long the batchelor shall remain a batchelor, or the maid a maid, master Seneschal!—
Sen. Why for that, master Newcomer, she refers you to her younger sister. And this, by the way, brings me, pat, to three other Sisters, of a very different description, (not but they, also, have something to do with our destinies, master Newcomer!) I mean the three smirking damsels, that wait on The Propitious Goddess, to whom the aforesaid maids and batchelors offer up their vows, when they wish to be maids and batchelors no longer.
  And then there be three Giants of Frost; three Warhounds, that guard the Gates of Hela; and three Valkyries, that wait on the banquet of Woden, in Valhalla.
Sewer. Very true, master Seneschal: but what has all this to do with the reasons for our banquet?
Sen. Why much, master Sewer:—much.
Trist. Aye, very much, master Sewer: for a Banquet is a Banquet, whether in Valhalla or Gwrtheyrnion: Is it not? master Seneschal! There's affinity, for you, imprimus. Then, in the second place—for we can find three affinities, or similitudes, in this case, also—Can we not? master Seneschal!—In the second place, a full stomach is better than an empty one, in Gwrtheyrnion as well as in Valhalla—Is it not, master Seneschal? There's affinity for you, again, or the devil's in it. And then, in the third place, (which brings us to our point;) there are three reasons for the banquet, in one place, as well as the other—videlicit—there be victuals to eat—there be people to eat them—and there is a place in which they may be eaten. Which, also, may in three diverse ways be stated—to wit, Imprimus, The passivity, or the victuals eatable—the locality, or the place of eating—and the agency, or the persons to eat. Secundo, The promptitude, or desire of eating—the aptitude, or convenience of a place to eat in—and the plentitude, or abundance of things eatable. Tertio, Yearning of the bowels, or the hungering after—temptation to the eye, or the presence of the things whereafter we hunger—and ministration copulative; or the tables and benches, in the great hall; whereby the parties are enabled to approximate, the come-at-ability of the desired is facilitated, and the desirers are fundamentally accommodated.
Sen. Right! right! master Newcomer! Truly, for all thou beest a Welchman, and I a Saxon, I desire thy further acquaintance; for thou seemest learned in these matters, and of an excellent wit.
Sew. Why now, by your leave, master Seneschal, all these be good reasons for banqueting at all times—but they be no reasons for banqueting before battle.
Sen. Short—short, master Sewer. If they be good reasons for banqueting at all times, then be they good reasons for banqueting before, as well as after.
Sew. Aye; but the specific, master Seneschal! the specific.
Trist. Why the specifics be three, also, master Sewer. Imprimus—there is fish to be eaten; and they are best to be eaten fresh—Secundo, fighting is hard work; and good eating and drinking minister to strength—Tertio, it is thought best to eat first, lest a part of the guests should get their bellies so full of fighting, as to have no appetite left for any thing else.
Sen. And, if these tripple reasons satisfy not the tender conscience, there is yet behind, a reason omnipotent, which is one and indivisible, namely, that The Fates would have it so.
Trist. The Fates! How so? master Seneschal.
Sen. Why, to tell you a secret—our mistress has been making a journey into hell.
Trist. (aside.) Aye, aye, to bespeak apartments I suppose.—Hum!
Sen. And, as she reports it, The Fatal Sisters ordered this banquet.
Trist. Did they so? Faith I shall have a better opinion of them, for the future, than I used to have.
Sew. Aye, and so shall I. Od zookers! I cared not if our Mistress went to hell every day, at this rate.
Sen. It is necessary, it seems, that the reconciliation between her and the King should be thus celebrated; and that, in token of their re-union, she should present him with a Cup of her own mixing; as she did at their first meeting; and then all is to go well.
Sew. Good! master Seneschal. And yet our priests will have it that it is not orthodox: because, in Valhalla, Woden and his Monoheroes always fight first, and banquet afterwards.
Trist. Aye, aye!—they want one half of us to get a quietus before the banquet, that there may be a double share of the baked and boiled for them. But as for those Monoheroes, I have a song about them: and, if the harpers and trumpeters will bear me out with an accompaniment, I care not if I sing it to you.

O! your joys of Valhalla to me they are all mere Greek, Sirs,
Where you fight till you are kill'd—
[Kill'd?—well: and what of that? If it were but once, and away, one would not mind it—(&c. &c. ad libitum.)  But there—why
There you're kill'd and kill'd again, every day of the Week, Sirs!
And after that, you get so drunk that you scarcely can speak, Sirs,
          And these are the joys of Valhalla!

There ten-hundred-times ten-thousand, Sirs, as I am a sinner,
Hack, and hew, and thrust, for fun—
[O very pretty fun, to be sure—Here a leg, and there an arm; and there a little scratch; just thro the scull to the chin; and there a head off, whisp! —(&c. &c.) for thus
They hack, and hew, and thrust, for fun; and both the loser and the winner
Are cut up just like pork, ere they set them down to dinner.
         These, these are the joys of Valhalla!

Then for knives they use their swords, and for forks they use their lances,
And their shields are turned to platters—
[Aye, leave them alone for good spacious trenchers.Their hacking and hewing, and cutting and thrusting, get them a good appetite, I'll warrant—A chine of beef, a goose, and a turkey, are nothing under a Monohero's doublet—and so
Their shields are turn'd to platters; and a thousand such like fancies,
And a Death's head, for a goblet, their drink very much enhances.
        These, these are the joys of Valhalla!

Now your eating I have some, and your drinking much delight in;
And I've no great objection to your tilting and your fighting—-
[No, it shall be seen, by-and-by, that, sword and target, cut and thrust, hack and hew, here a head, and there a limb, (&c. &c.) little Tristram will play his part with the best of you:
For I've no great objection to your tilting and your fighting;
But as to getting drunk after being kill'd,— Why, that I think, they're not right in.
        Altho 'tis the joy of Valhalla!

Then their MODUS BIBENDI, to me, it is mightily droll, Sirs,
And the scull of a foe, is a very strange sort of a wassail-bowl, Sirs—
[O, lud! I'm all in the horrors to think of it.  Who the devil could set himself soberly to work to get drunk, with a death's head in his hand? Besides how the devil do they manage it?
For the scull of a foe is such a very strange sort of a bowl, Sirs,
That I am very sure I should spill—out at either eye-hole, Sirs,
             Ere it got to my mouth in Valhalla!

Then give me still a banquet of your mere mortal cooking—
[Nay, no cooking at all—Radishes and raw turnips; an apple, and an onion—or a good Welch leek (&c. &c.) in a thatched cottage, rather than chines and turkies, in your Hall of Shields—
Yes, give me still a dinner of such plain vulgar cooking;
And ere ale in a scull, I'll drink Adam's ale the brook in:
And, if there's any other heaven I can find a fly nook in,
             I'll be damn'd if I'll go to Valhalla!
                                                                        [Exeunt.

 

SCENE IV.

A confused and tumultuous noise within. Shrieks, and a cry for help.—A deep groan is heard.  Enter several GUESTS and SERVANTS, flying, to and fro, across the stage, in terror and astonishment. Dirgeful music, from the Harps, within.

Enter ROWENNA, in a great agitation. EDELTHRED, AGGA, &c. following.

Row. 'Tis done!—'Tis done!—The charm is bound:
         Vortigern his sleep profound
                                Has quaft. (A groan within.)
         He dies! (a groan.) He dies! (a groan.) He dies!
         For this below (with half-thaw'd eyes)
            Icy Hela, shouting, laught. (Groan again.)
                             He dies! He dies!
         To the Nine-fold Realm he hies—
             Misty region!—cold, and dark!
                                             Hark!——
         Grymer leads the tripple growl.
         Now they open. Now they howl. (Barking below.)
             Hark! (Barking) Hark! (Barking) Hark!
             Loud the ravening hell-dogs bark.
         Fenrir shakes his chains below:
         They yell!—the Giant Sons of Woe!—
         And wide the creeking portals throw.
                                                 Hark!——
         Clank of chains, and growl, and bark——
Hideous discord! (Clank of chains) Hark! (A deep growl) Hark! (barking) Hark!——

Ed. Ag. &c. Hideous discord! Hark! hark! hark!

Accompaniments of barking, howling, &c. Then, a solemn pause; and a sudden transition to soft and melancholy music; principally of Harps and Flutes.
The body of
VORTIGERN is carried across the stage, accompanied by COURTIERS, DOMESTICS, SOLDIERS, &c. &c. while THE BARDS sing the following dirge.

         Mourn, Britons, mourn the mighty fall'n:
                The sceptred hand is cold.
         The imperial brow in dust lies low,
                By sudden Fate controll'd
         Mourn, Britons, mourn the mighty fall'n:
                The sceptred hand is cold!
                                 [Exeunt with the Body.

Rowenna (after a pause.)
   Why should this moody dirge, these solemn sounds
Of grief-full mockery, and this apish train,
That mourn but by contagion from the harps
Of hireling choristers, infect my eyes,
Or chill my veins with horror?—Up! to arms,
Ye firm Resolves! and fortify my soul
Against invading Conscience. True, he sleeps—
Sleeps with the dead!—my some-time plighted lord—
By me, he sleeps his death. But Fate's, not mine,
Is all the guilt—if guilt. The Fates decreed,
And I but did their biddings.—But a wife?——
A wife!—Away: I never was the wife
Of such a thing as Vortigern. My soul
(That scorns affiance with the low and vile)
Wedded not him, but Empire; and to that
I still am true and loyal: making way,
By this predestin'd act, for happier rule,
And a more worthy master. Arthur's hand
Shall heal thy griefs, and mine—Heav'n-favour'd Isle!
And congregated Britain bless the deed.

   Join, then, the chaunt to Frea. Frea now,
Propitious Goddess! may accept the vow;
To her, and Gna, swell soft the melting strains—
For theirs what yet of destiny remains.

            Queen of Pleasures! Queen of Smiles!
            Goddess of resistless wiles,
                 And Love's extatic glow!
            Thou, who, erst, the golden tear
            Shed'st o'er Balder's early bier,
                 And felt'st the touch of tender woe—
                                 Propitious Goddess! hear.
Ed.Ag.&c. Queen of Love's extatic glow—
                                 Propitious Goddess! hear.

Row.  O! send the herald of thy will,
         The throbbings of the heart to still,
                 And whisper Peace and love!
         The imperfect work of Fate complete,
         Till sigh with sigh, responsive, meet:
                 O! first of genial powers above!
                                Propitious Goddess! hear.
Ed.Ag.&c. First of genial powers above!——
                                Propitious Goddess! hear.

Trumpets, without, and a cry of The foe! The foe! ALWIN enters, with great precipitation.

Alw. Most noble Queen! Arthur has gain'd the heights.
His trumpet sounds defiance at our gates;
And down the steep, to this our mid-way strand,
His shouting legion pours: their banner'd vans
Chiding, with fluttering speed, the buoyant air;
Like wings of eagles, when they downward rush
To pounce their shrieking prey.
                                      Row. Hang out the flag
Of friendly parley. This is welcome news.
The tyrant's death makes way for gentler warfare—
More mild arbitriment than flings and darts:
And this shall first be tried.

                 Enter a second MESSINGER

                         Messenger. Revolt! revolt!
Treason is in our walls; a treacherous band
Of lawless Britons, headed by the twain,
Who, with their proffer'd service, late arriv'd,
Have borne the Princess to the lonely tower,
By sudden inroad seiz'd, and now maintain'd
In Arthur's hostile name.
             Row. (eagerly.) The lonely tower?
Mes. The same that, circled by the deep-delv'd moat,
Stands insulated: less by tactic art,
Than by the never-ceasing spring, that laves
Its circular base, defended.
                                   Row. Fire the bridge!—
This news is welcome too. My fates prevail!
No weapons use but fire.—Propitious powers!
Ye faithful Fatal Sisters!—Shaft and sling
Were sacrilegious here; were impotent.
Fire, fire, I say. The first that brings me word
The turrets flame (be he the meanest drudge
That ever pioneer'd before a host)
Shall rank, for wealth and power, with Woden's line.
                                    Exeunt ALW. and MES.

         Yes!——"My rival to confound,
             "Fire and water shall surround—
             "Ruthless flames, and waves profound!"

                 Sweet Hope my heart beguiles:
         My bosom swells—my pulse beats high;
         And softer heaves the fluttering sigh.
                 Propitious Frea smiles!           Exeunt.


SCENE V.

The outside of the Castle, situated half way up the Beacons; at that part now occupied by the Lake or Pool. The double peak of the Mountain forms the back ground. The Keep, or round Tower, appears detached from the rest of the fortification; and surrounded by a wide moat. The drawbridge, between it and the Castle is drawn up; and TRISTRAM and GUNEVERE are seen upon the Walls. The other parts of the Castle are, also, defended by a moat; the drawbridge being up. A perpetual shower of firebrands is discharged, from the Castle, upon the Keep.

TRISTRAM (hurling back the brands, as they are thrown.)
Fire for your fire, ye Salamanders! if that's your game.
But here comes one will fire you prettily; I'll warrant.

Trumpet-Chorus of BARDS and KNIGHTS, as ARTHUR, and his Train are entering.

        Trumpets sounding, falchions flaming!
            Rush, ye chiefs to glorious fight:
        Fame, the while, your worth proclaiming—-

Arth. Destraction!—See upon the keep (surpris'd
By Tristram's politic valour, to secure,
During our fierce assault, from chance of war,
Or worse internal treason, the fair prize
Of all our sleepless perils) what fierce shower
Of hellish engin'ry, incessant, hails,
Threat'ning a fate of horrors. Sound the trump—
The trump of parley.—-Guenever!
                                   Guenever.  Oh! heav'n!
Arthur! my lord! my hero!—in thy fight—-
O! cruel destiny!
                 Arth. The trumpet sound. [A parley sounded.
If maid, or child, or matron they would save
From retributive vengeance, let them cease
This war of fire;

(ROWENNA, attended by ALWIN, and several SAXON and BRITISH NOBLES, &c. appears on the walls.)

                          or, by the Eternal Truth,
Whom my soul worships! soon Gwrtheyrnion's walls,
Prostrate on earth, shall form one common tomb
For every Saxon thing that breathes within;
And these my gallant knights, horribly smear'd
With your idolatrous blood, shall, o'er the heap
Of mingled wreck and carnage, wave their swords,
And shout "Extermination!"
                                  Row. Angry prince!
Why to our flag of conference answer you
With such ungentle outrage? Were we bent
On hostile fury, we have means within
To battle this gay phalanx; tho renown'd,
(As frankly we admit) for warlike deeds,
Thro all the peopled earth. But, in our hearts,
The touch humane of cordial sympathy
Is now more vital than revengeful wrath
And national aversions; which too long
Have thin'd our rival tribes. Therefore we arm
Our tongues with gentle courtesies, not hands
With weapons of destruction; and invite
To equal brotherhood your warrior Knights—
Yourself, to equal empire.
                               Arth. Empire, shar'd
With Vortigern and thee?
                               Row. That Vortigern
No more presents a barrier to the hopes
Of Anglia and of Britain; cold he lies
Beneath the fresh-laid turf; and, with his sleep,
The bleeding realm is pacified.
                                         Arth. How?—-How?—-
Did I then prophecy? Most murderous fiend!
Thy husband, and thy sovereign!
                                            Row. Why on me
(Injurious!) charge the sure decrees of Fate?
Arth. Fate, that would deal in murders and in crimes,
Shall never want (while thou infest'st the earth)
A ready instrument. No more. Break off
The impious parle. The martial chorus raise;
And let our battering enginery upheap,
Of these polluted stones, a monument
To Britain's murder'd King: foul tho he were,
Of these, not meriting so foul an end.

Cho. Trumpets sounding, falchions flaming,
            Rush, ye Chiefs, to glorious fight——

A BRITON (from the Walls.)
A while forbear!—For what do we contend?
For what deform the enamell'd turf of peace
With our unnatural slaughters? Arthur, hear—
Rowenna, and the undisputed crown
Of Britain and the auxilliar tribes of Elb,
Are thine, without a crime.
                                Arth. Without a crime,
Vile Briton!—This from thee, whose King, even now
(Your own elected King!) in death lies low
By her abhor'd contrivance!—Without crime?
Is it no crime to league with Murder, then—
Domestic Murder, Witchcraft, and the rage
Of foul adultrous Lust, and all the swarm
Of most abhor'd pollutions, that combine
In her detested nature, and infect
The very air she breathes in?—making all
That come within thy atmosphere of crimes,
As hateful as thyself—thou, World of Sins!
Guilt's fair, yet foul epitome!
                                    Row. Ye Gods
Of Asgard and of Niflheim! is it thus
Ye cheat my hopes?
                                  Yet, fair! He owns me fair!
That's something. And, perchance, when yonder witch
No more with philtering charms can drug the sense,
I may seem fair alone; and, rivalry
No more obtruding, the impassion'd touch
Of Nature's strong propension may subdue
This pride of ethic reason. The loos'd eye
Of youthful appetite, that, 'mong the forms
Of soft obstrusive beauty, somewhere must
Dwell with more ardent gaze, from mine, perchance,
May catch contagious fire; and Arthur yet
Light up the flame in which my woes expire. (Aside.)
    Why cease the brands, ye tardy ministers
Of our imperial mandate? Who again,
(Command who will) till yonder turrets flame,
Does in the fiery warfare but relax,
The pains of Treason wait him.
                         (The assault on the Keep is renewed.)
ARTHUR (who, during the foregoing soliloquy, had conversed with GUENEVER, across the moat, in dumb show.)
                                                 Quick—repeal
That hideous mandate; or, by utmost hell,
Whate'er of torment human wit can frame—
Whate'er of ignominy (torturous more
To thy imperious spirit) shall avenge
The damned deed.
                              What? ha! No respite? Fiends!
Sound—sound the trumpet. Peal the assailing hymn,
Ye bards, and rush to combat.    (The assault begins).

Chorus. Trumpets sounding, falchions flaming,
                  Rush, ye chiefs! to glorious fight:
              Fame, the while, your worth proclaiming,
                 Thro the nations wings her flight.
                     Rush to conquest! rush to glory!
                     Like the brave of ancient story.
              Trumpets sounding, falchions flaming,
                  Rush to conquest—rush to glory!

The BARDS join in the conflict. The drawbridge of the Castle falls; and that of the Keep, together with the Keep itself, is fired, at the same time. Shouts and flourish, as of triumph, from both parties.

Arth. The drawbridge falls. Assail! assail the gates.
Distraction!—Guenever!
                      Guenever. Oh, Arthur! Arthur!
They reach—they scorch me. O, the flames! the flames!
Arth. My arm avails not. Conquest is in vain!
Distraction! vengeance!—O, some vast revenge!
Some mighty ruin!—that the world might crack,
And Universal Nature, with her wreck,
Hood yon devouring flames!
                                    Row. The Phoenix burns!
And, from the odorous ruin, mine the love,
With renovated wing, shall soar aloft,
Gorgeous in natal triumph.—'Tis complete. (Aside.)

     Schulda, thanks! The charm is bound.
     Now, my rival to confound,
     Fire and water both surround.

     Arthur's arm no help shall lend,
     No mortal power the Maid befriend,
     Nor aid from pitying heaven descend.

     Schulda thanks! My doubts retire.
     Arthur soon shall light the fire
     In which my sorrows all expire.

Arth. A brand! A brand! Hell-hag—thy prophecy
(Whatever juggling demon gave it shape)
Soon I fulfil. Tristram, a brand! a brand!

TRISTRAM throws several brands to ARTHUR and the KNIGHTS: ROWENNA starts, with a terrific shriek, as they seize, and brandish them on high.

Row. Furies of Hela's shades! Is this the flame?
Arth. Oh! Guenever! thus at thy funeral pyre,
I offer up thy hecatombs. Come on,
If not for preservation, we are arm'd
At least for vengeance. Hell-hag! thus I light
The fated flame in which thy woes expire.

He fires the Gates; and presently the whole castle appears to be in flames, in the midst of which ROWENNA and her partizans sink. In the mean time, the flames make a more feeble progress in the Keep; where GUENEVER and TRISTRAM stand.

        AIR and CHORUS of unseen Spirts.
     She shrieks!—She dies!—Our mistress dies!
         Spirits—Spirits!—haste away:
     Scatter thro the lurid skies.
         Asi's Gods in pow'r decay.
     Demon Gods confess, with fear,
     Their fated twilight hovering near.

Ar. Vengeance! thy dues are paid. But Love! O, Love!
Hast thou no interest at The Mercy Seat?—
Nor suffering Innocence?——My Guenever!
        (She disappears and TRISTRAM follows.)
Oh! torment!—torment! Thus, before mine eyes!—
Not even the wretched privilege resev'd
To perish with her—in one dear embrace
Forget the searching fury of the flames,
And mix our wedded ashes! Might one not,
Of desperate resolution, make a bridge
Enough substantial for a lover's weight,
Buoy'd by such dire extremity? At least,
We'll try the hazard. Ho! for Guenever!

[He runs towards the moat, which he is about to leap; when suddenly the whole pile of building, Castle and Keep together, and all the ground they occupied, sink down. The space becomes filled by a pool of Water. In the place where the round tower stood, THE LADY OF THE LAKE appears in her chariot, with GUENEVER seated by her side, and TRISTRAM behind.
The Chariot, &c approaches the shore. SCOUT comes swimming after. ARTHUR and GUENEVER rush into each other's arms.

Arth. All-gracious powers!
                              Guen. My hero!
                                                 Arth. O! My Love!
Trist. (springing upon land) Huzza! Huzza! Didn't I tell you little Tristram would fight his way thro it. If there was no help from Heaven above, or the Earth beneath, there was some in the Waters that are under the earth, my blinking prophetess!
Why, how now, Scout?—What, my amphibious! my water-spaniel! You've had enough of the draught of temperance, I hope. This comes of your fears and precautions. If you had drank valiant Cwrw, as I do, and
stood, to the last, at the post of danger—why you had arrived on Terra Firma, with dry breeches, my boy.
Arth. And is it realis'd?—And art thou safe?—
Safe and unhurt, from those devouring flames
That threaten'd thy chaste beauties?
                                                 Guen. Free! Unhurt!—
Save in thy frantic terrors!—There I bleed—
Here—in this storm-rent bosom. (Laying her hand upon his heart.)
                                                         Arth. 'Tis at rest:
If blessedness be rest.— O, sacred power
Of flame-defying Chastity!—And thou! (To the Fairy.
Lady. See, Arthur, see! to crown your matchless worth,
Nature relents, and miracles have birth,
The tribute spring that wont its course to take,
Thro secret veins, to feed my broader Lake,
A lake itself now spreads at my command,
And long, an emblem of your Fame, shall stand,
An alpine wonder in the Cambrian land.
Meantime accept, from two-fold dangers freed,
This beauteous maid, your Valour's noblest meed.

      Beauty, Truth, and Innocence,
         Sweetly blending all their charms,
     Valour's guerdon, I dispense:
         Take them, Hero, to thy arms.
     Virtue with such Graces blending,
     'Twas a prize well worth contending:
         Worth thy perils, toils, alarms:
         Take her, hero, to thy arms:—
     Feast of Reason! feast of Sense!
     Beauty, Truth, and Innocence.

Chorus. Valour true to Virtue's side,
             Worth, by sharp affliction tried,
             Merit well the blooming bride
        On whom propitious Fates dispense
        Beauty, Truth, and Innocence.

Arth. O! sacred Guardian!—But all words are weak:
I can but sigh my raptures; gaze my thanks,
And, in the precious gift, the giver prize.

Tali. Trumpet's clangors, Arms that rattle,
         Dreadful thro the bleeding battle,
                                 Now, a while,
            For kindling Beauty's roseate smile—
              Soothing softness! we forego.
              Haste Thee, Love! the wreath bestow.
                                 Witching smile
                                 And sportive wile
           That sense of wearied worth beguile;
                  And Stelth, that love's coy nectar sips;
                  And tilt and toy of parrying lips;
              Eyes that swim; and hearts that glow;
              And parly with the yielding foe;—
              These, for laurels, Love! bestow;
           And we again will fight thy battle.

Bard.  Haste thee, Boy! But wing thy arrows
           With the dove's plume; not the sparrow's:
              Turtle, that, in thickest grove,
              Guards the nest of absent love.
              And still, as Valour's meed, dispense
              Beauty, Truth, and Innocence.
           So, when storms of danger rattle,
           We again will fight thy battle.

Chorus. Beauty, Truth, and Innocence
             Still, as Valour's meed dispense;
         And, when storms of danger rattle,
         Valour's sons shall fight thy battle.

Lady. But see below, how from the misty vale
The day retires, and twilight shades prevail.
Soon shall those shadows up the mountain spread,
And Night involve Farinioch's peaky head.
One thing remains: to waft my chosen son
To Caër Leon: then my task is done.
There Britain's chiefs assembled, even now,
Prepare the regal fillet for thy brow.
Ye sightless agents of the charmed air!
Sustain our weight. Behold: for we are there.


Scene VI.

She waves her silver Trident, and the scene changes to Caer-Leon, in all its fabled grandeur; splendidly illuminated, and decorated with martial trophies, banners, wreaths, and braids of flowers, and other sumptuous preparations for the coronation of ARTHUR, NOBLES, BARDS, LADIES, YOUTHS, and MAIDENS with baskets of Flowers, MASKERS, REVELLERS, &c.

La. Here youths and maids your gather'd fragrance fling:
Behold your promis'd Chief—your patriot King.

The Youths and Maidens strew their flowers; and the Chiefs, &c. present the regal fillet to ARTHUR, who binds it on the brow of GUENEVER.

Tal. Hail Britian's pride! immortal Arthur hail!
Thy honour, name, and praise shall never fail!
Cho. Hail Britain's pride! immortal Arthur hail!
Thy honour, name, and praise shall never fail!
Lady. Thus cover'd with glory, thus blest in thy love,
To empire promoted, thy virtue to prove,
Forget not that worth, in the sunshine of joy,
That griefs could not quench, or afflictions annoy.
Let your valour protect, but not ravage the state;
And cherish the Low, while you rule o'er the great;
So the bard, yet unborn, shall your triumphs proclaim,
And the nations around thus re-echo your Fame—
"Hail Britain's pride! immortal Arthur, hail!
"Your honour, name, and praise shall never fail."
Chorus. Hail Britain's pride! &c.—

Talies. Wake the Harp to strains of pleasure!
             Let the sportive train advance:
           Ring of shields, and pyrrhic measure!
             Warriors, lead the nuptial dance.

                    A Dance of Warriors.

           War and Toil have done their duty:
             Let your weary'd worth repose.
           Love succeeds; and smiling Beauty,
              With our laurel twines the rose.

A Dance of Virgins who crown ARTHUR and his KNIGHTS with chaplets.

Chorus.Love and Glory, thus uniting,
               All their mingled boons confer.
            Arthur, lo! thy worth requiting,
               Empire, Fame, and Guenever.
Lady.   Now, my task perform'd, I fly
           To my secret bowers, that lie
           Where the Day-Star never came,
                                Peering—-Fleering,
           With his searching eye of flame.
           There, in virgin state, I rove
           Thro' sparry dome, and coral grove,
           Self-illum'd with many a Gem
           Might grace a monarch's diadem.
Response below, as the Chariot rises.
            Lady! Lady! haste to rove
            Thro' sparry dome and coral grove.
            See your Swans their traces shake,
            Regent of the silver lake!

Lady.  There, where bubbling fonts arise
            And the blue-eye'd Naides
           Thro the chinks, in many a rill,
                             Tinkling—Sprinkling,
           Their salubrius boons distill—
           There I join the virgin throng,
           Warbling oft the choral song
           That brooks and echoing falls repeat,
           To Fancy's ear, in numbers sweet.
Response of Nymphs below.
            Lady! Lady! haste along:
            Join the Choir, and join the song;
                     Gurgling—tinkling,
                     Murmuring—sprinkling,
            Sadly sweet, the rocks among.
Lady, as she seats herself in the Chariot.
            Sisters, I the call obey,
            Seek the Grot, and join the lay;
                     Murmuring—tinkling,
                     Bubbing—sprinkling,
             Where the chrystal fountains,
                        From their mountains,
                         Gushing—Rushing,
            To their vallies haste away.

                       TALIESSIN.
        May those fountains, Lady kind!
        Still their wonted channels find,
        Nor ever water-nymph neglect
        The silent tribute of respect,
        But, thro many a secret vein,
        Still the purer essence strain,
        And thy mystic urn supply;
        Never turbid, never dry:—
        Urn so pure, that Lunvey's tide,
        Thro its waters doom'd to glide,
        Silent, with unmingling wave,
        Hastes the wooddy glen to lave,
        And there, to list'ning groves, complains
        Of Love o'erawed, and stifled pains;
        With virgin beauties aye embrac'd
        Which yet he must not hope to taste.
        May ever on thy brink appear
        The earliest fragrance of the year,
        And lingering Autumn in thy face
        Reflected see his latest grace;
        While still, as circling hours prevail,
        The matin Lark and Nightingale
        The song of lengthen'd rapture wake
        To hail the Lady of the Lake.

                      CHORUS.
         Blow the martial trump again,
         Give to Fame the closing strain—
         Fame, that shall her wreaths confer
         On Arthur and on Guenever;
         And bid her loudest clarion wake,
         To hail the Lady of the Lake.


               THE CURTAIN DROPS.