Lewis. What, still at lessons? Come, my
Usher the holy man unto his lodgings. [Exeunt.]
Wal [alone]. So, so, the birds are limed:—Heaven grant that we do not soon see them stowed in separate cages. Well, here my prophesying ends. I shall go to my lands, and see how much the gentlemen my neighbours have stolen off them the last week,— Priests? Frogs in the king’s bedchamber! What says the song?
I once had a hound, a right good hound,
A hound both fleet and strong:
He ate at my board, and he slept by my bed,
And ran with me all the day long.
But my wife took a priest, a shaveling priest,
And ‘such friendships are carnal,’ quoth he.
So my wife and her priest they drugged the poor beast,
And the rat’s bane is waiting for me.
The Gateway of a Convent. Night.
Con. This night she swears obedience to me!
How hast Thou opened a path, where my young dreams
May find fulfilment: there are prophecies
Upon her, make me bold. Why comes she not?
She should be here by now. Strange, how I shrink—
I, who ne’er yet felt fear of man or fiend.
Obedience to my will! An awful charge!
But yet, to have the training of her sainthood;
To watch her rise above this wild world’s waves
Like floating water-lily, towards heaven’s light
Opening its virgin snows, with golden eye
Mirroring the golden sun; to be her champion,
And war with fiends for her; that were a ‘quest’;
That were true chivalry; to bring my Judge
This jewel for His crown; this noble soul,
Worth thousand prudish clods of barren clay,
Who mope for heaven because earth’s grapes are sour—
Her, full of youth, flushed with the heart’s rich first-fruits,
Tangled in earthly pomp—and earthly love.
Wife? Saint by her face she should be: with such looks
The queen of heaven, perchance, slow pacing came
Adown our sleeping wards, when Dominic
Sank fainting, drunk with beauty:—she is most fair!
Pooh! I know nought of fairness—this I know,
She calls herself my slave, with such an air
As speaks her queen, not slave; that shall be looked to—
She must be pinioned or she will range abroad
Upon too bold a wing; ’t will cost her pain—
But what of that? there are worse things than pain—
What! not yet here? I’ll in, and there await her
In prayer before the altar: I have need on’t:
And shall have more before this harvest’s ripe.
[As Conrad goes out, Elizabeth, Isentrudis, and Guta enter.]
Eliz. I saw him just before us: let us
We must not seem to loiter.
Isen. Then you promise
Exact obedience to his sole direction
Henceforth in every scruple?
Eliz. In all I can,
And be a wife.