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The Complete Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe / Including Essays on Poetry By Edgar Allan Poe Characters: 5499

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03


An Apartment in a Palace. POLITIAN and BALDAZZAR.

Baldazzar Arouse thee now, Politian!

Thou must not-nay indeed, indeed, thou shalt not

Give way unto these humors. Be thyself!

Shake off the idle fancies that beset thee

And live, for now thou diest!

Politian Not so, Baldazzar!

Surely I live!

Baldazzar Politian, it doth grieve me

To see thee thus!

Politian Baldazzar, it doth grieve me

To give thee cause for grief, my honored friend.

Command me, sir! what wouldst thou have me do?

At thy behest I will shake off that nature

Which from my forefathers I did inherit,

Which with my mother's milk I did imbibe,

And be no more Politian, but some other.

Command me, sir!

Baldazzar To the field then-to the field-

To the senate or the field.

Politian Alas! alas!

There is an imp would follow me even there!

There is an imp hath followed me even there!

There is-what voice was that?

Baldazzar I heard it not.

I heard not any voice except thine own,

And the echo of thine own.

Politian Then I but dreamed.

Baldazzar Give not thy soul to dreams: the camp-the court

Befit thee-Fame awaits thee-Glory calls-

And her the trumpet-tongued thou wilt not hear

In hearkening to imaginary sounds

And phantom voices.

Politian It is a phantom voice!

Didst thou not hear it then?

Baldazzar I heard it not.

Politian Thou heardst it not!-Baldazzar, speak no more

To me, Politian, of thy camps and courts.

Oh! I am sick, sick, sick, even unto death,

Of the hollow and high-sounding vanities

Of the populous Earth! Bear with me yet awhile

We have been boys together-school-fellows-

And now are friends-yet shall not be so long-

For in the Eternal City thou shalt do me

A kind and gentle office, and a Power-

A Power august, benignant, and supreme-

Shall then absolve thee of all further duties

Unto thy friend.

Baldazzar Thou speakest a fearful riddle

I will not understand.

Politian Yet now as Fate

Approaches, and the Hours are breathing low,

The sands of Time are changed to golden grains,

And dazzle me, Baldazzar. Alas! alas!

I cannot die, having within my heart

So keen a relish for the beautiful

As hath been kindled within it. Methinks the air

Is balmier now than it was wont to be-

Rich melodies are floating in the winds-

A rarer loveliness bedecks the earth-

And with a holier lustre the quiet moon

Sitteth in Heaven.-Hist! hist! thou canst not say

Thou hearest not now, Baldazzar?

Baldazzar Indeed I hear not.

Politian Not hear it!-listen-now-listen!-the faintest sound

And yet the sweetest that ear ever heard!

A lady's voice!-and sorrow in the tone!

Baldazzar,

it oppresses me like a spell!

Again!-again!-how solemnly it falls

Into my heart of hearts! that eloquent voice

Surely I never heard-yet it were well

Had I but heard it with its thrilling tones

In earlier days!

Baldazzar I myself hear it now.

Be still!-the voice, if I mistake not greatly,

Proceeds from younder lattice-which you may see

Very plainly through the window-it belongs,

Does it not? unto this palace of the Duke.

The singer is undoubtedly beneath

The roof of his Excellency-and perhaps

Is even that Alessandra of whom he spoke

As the betrothed of Castiglione,

His son and heir.

Politian Be still!-it comes again!

Voice (very faintly) "And is thy heart so strong1

As for to leave me thus,

That have loved thee so long,

In wealth and woe among?

And is thy heart so strong

As for to leave me thus?

Say nay! say nay!"

Baldazzar The song is English, and I oft have heard it

In merry England-never so plaintively-

Hist! hist! it comes again!

Voice (more loudly) "Is it so strong

As for to leave me thus,

That have loved thee so long,

In wealth and woe among?

And is thy heart so strong

As for to leave me thus?

Say nay! say nay!"

Baldazzar 'Tis hushed and all is still!

Politian All is not still.

Baldazzar Let us go down.

Politian Go down, Baldazzar, go!

Baldazzar The hour is growing late-the Duke awaits us,-

Thy presence is expected in the hall

Below. What ails thee, Earl Politian?

Voice (distinctly) "Who have loved thee so long,

In wealth and woe among,

And is thy heart so strong?

Say nay! say nay!"

Baldazzar Let us descend!-'tis time. Politian, give

These fancies to the wind. Remember, pray,

Your bearing lately savored much of rudeness

Unto the Duke. Arouse thee! and remember!

Politian Remember? I do. Lead on! I do remember.[going].

Let us descend. Believe me I would give,

Freely would give the broad lands of my earldom

To look upon the face hidden by yon lattice-

"To gaze upon that veiled face, and hear

Once more that silent tongue."

Baldazzar Let me beg you, sir,

Descend with me-the Duke may be offended.

Let us go down, I pray you.

Voice (loudly) Say nay!-say nay!

Politian (aside) 'Tis strange!-'tis very strange-methought the voice

Chimed in with my desires and bade me stay!

[Approaching the window]

Sweet voice! I heed thee, and will surely stay.

Now be this fancy, by heaven, or be it Fate,

Still will I not descend. Baldazzar, make

Apology unto the Duke for me;

I go not down to-night.

Baldazzar Your lordship's pleasure

Shall be attended to. Good-night, Politian.

Politian Good-night, my friend, good-night.

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