ROME.—A Lady’s Apartment, with a window open and looking into a garden. LALAGE, in deep mourning, reading at a table on which lie some books and a hand-mirror. In the background JACINTA (a servant maid) leans carelessly upon a chair.
Lalage. Jacinta! is it thou?
Jacinta (pertly). Yes, ma’am, I’m here.
Lal. I did not know, Jacinta,
you were in waiting.
Sit down!—let not my presence trouble you—
Sit down!—for I am humble, most humble.
Jac. (aside). ’Tis time.
(Jacinta seats herself in a side-long manner upon the chair, resting her elbows upon the back, and regarding her mistress with a contemptuous look. Lalage continues to read.)
Lal. “It in another climate,
so he said,
Bore a bright golden flower, but not i’ this soil!”
(pauses—turns over some leaves and resumes.)
“No lingering winters there, nor snow, nor shower—
But Ocean ever to refresh mankind
Breathes the shrill spirit of the western wind”
Oh, beautiful!—most beautiful!—how like
To what my fevered soul doth dream of Heaven!
O happy land! (pauses) She died!—the maiden died!
O still more happy maiden who couldst die!
(Jacinta returns no answer, and Lalage presently resumes.)
Again!—a similar tale
Told of a beauteous dame beyond the sea!
Thus speaketh one Ferdinand in the words of the play—
“She died full young”—one Bossola answers him—
“I think not so—her infelicity
Seemed to have years too many”—Ah, luckless lady!
Jacinta! (still no answer.)
Here’s a far sterner story—
But like—oh, very like in its despair—
Of that Egyptian queen, winning so easily
A thousand hearts—losing at length her own.
She died. Thus endeth the history—and her maids
Lean over her and keep—two gentle maids
With gentle names—Eiros and Charmion!
Rainbow and Dove!—Jacinta!
Jac. (pettishly). Madam, what is it?
Lal. Wilt thou, my good Jacinta,
be so kind
As go down in the library and bring me
The Holy Evangelists?
Lal. If there be balm
For the wounded spirit in Gilead, it is there!
Dew in the night time of my bitter trouble
Will there be found—“dew sweeter far than that
Which hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon hill.”
(re-enter Jacinta, and throws a volume on the table.)
’s the book.
(aside.) Indeed she is very troublesome.