With light heart the poor fisher moors his boat,
And watches from the shore the lofty ship
Stranded amid the storm.
Art thou already
In harbor then, old man? Well! I am not.
The unconquer’d spirit drives me o’er life’s billows;
My planks still firm, my canvas swelling proudly.
Hope is my goddess still, and Youth my inmate;
And while we stand thus front to front almost
I might presume to say that the swift years
Have passed by powerless o’er my unblanched
[He moves with long strides across the Saloon, and remains on the opposite side over against GORDON.]
Who now persists in calling Fortune false?
To me she has proved faithful; with fond love
Took me from out the common ranks of men,
And like a mother goddess, with strong arm
Carried me swiftly up the steps of life.
Nothing is common in my destiny,
Nor in the furrows of my hand. Who dares
Interpret then my life for me as ’twere
One of the undistinguishable many?
True, in this present moment I appear
Fallen low indeed; but I shall rise again.
The high flood will soon follow on this ebb;
The fountain of my fortune, which now stops
Repress’d and bound by some malicious star,
Will soon in joy play forth from all its pipes.
And yet remember I the good old proverb,
“Let the night come before we praise the day.”
I would be slow from long-continued fortune
To gather hope: for Hope is the companion
Given to the unfortunate by pitying Heaven.
Fear hovers round the head of prosperous men;
For still unsteady are the scales of fate.
I hear the very Gordon that of old
Was wont to preach, now once more preaching;
I know well that all sublunary things
Are still the vassals of vicissitude.
The unpropitious gods demand their tribute;
This long ago the ancient Pagans knew:
And therefore of their own accord they offer’d
To themselves injuries, so to atone
The jealousy of their divinities:
And human sacrifices bled to Typhon.
[After a pause, serious, and in a more subdued manner.]
I too have sacrificed to him—For me
There fell the dearest friend, and through my fault
He fell! No joy from favorable fortune
Can overweight the anguish of this stroke.
The envy of my destiny is glutted
Life pays for life. On his pure head the lightning
Was drawn off which would else have shatter’d me.
To these enter SENI
Is not that Seni! and beside himself,
If one may trust his looks? What brings thee hither
At this late hour, Baptista?
On thy account.