[Etc. etc., ad libitum.]
A room in a convent at Mayence. Conrad alone.
Con. The work is done! Diva Elizabeth!
And I have trained one saint before I die!
Yet now ’tis done, is’t well done? On my lips
Is triumph: but what echo in my heart?
Alas! the inner voice is sad and dull,
Even at the crown and shout of victory.
Oh! I had hugged this purpose to my heart,
Cast by for it all ruth, all pride, all scruples;
Yet now its face, that seemed as pure as crystal,
Shows fleshly, foul, and stained with tears and gore!
We make, and moil, like children in their gardens,
And spoil with dabbled hands, our flowers i’ the planting.
And yet a saint is made! Alas, those children!
Was there no gentler way? I know not any:
I plucked the gay moth from the spider’s web;
What if my hasty hand have smirched its feathers?
Sure, if the whole be good, each several part
May for its private blots forgiveness gain,
As in man’s tabernacle, vile elements
Unite to one fair stature. Who’ll gainsay it?
The whole is good; another saint in heaven;
Another bride within the Bridegroom’s arms;
And she will pray for me!—And yet what matter?
Better that I, this paltry sinful unit,
Fall fighting, crushed into the nether pit,
If my dead corpse may bridge the path to Heaven,
And damn itself, to save the souls of others.
A noble ruin: yet small comfort in it;
In it, or in aught else——
A blank dim cloud before mine inward sense
Dulls all the past: she spoke of such a cloud—
I struck her for’t, and said it was a fiend—
She’s happy now, before the throne of God—
I should be merry; yet my heart’s floor sinks
As on a fast day; sure some evil bodes.
Would it were here, that I might see its eyes!
The future only is unbearable!
We quail before the rising thunderstorm
Which thrills and whispers in the stifled air,
Yet blench not, when it falls. Would it were here!
I fain would sleep, yet dare not: all the air
Throngs thick upon me with the pregnant terror
Of life unseen, yet near. I dare not meet them,
As if I sleep I shall do—I again?
What matter what I feel, or like, or fear?
Come what God sends. Within there—Brother Gerard!
Watch here an hour, and pray.—The fiends are busy. So—hold my hand. [Crosses himself.] Come on, I fear you not. [Sleeps.]
Qui fugiens rnundi gravia
Contempsit carnis bravia,
Lucratur, perdens, omnia.
Hunc gestant ulnis angeli,
Ne lapis officiat pedi;
Ne luce timor occupet,
Aut nocte pestis incubet.
Huic coeli lilia germinant;
Arrisus sponsi permanent;
Ac nomen in fidelibus
Quam filiorum medius. [Sleeps.]