Fate's iron grapple! Could I now behold
That son with knife uplifted at my heart,
A moment ere my life-blood followed it,
I would embrace him with my dying eyes,
And pardon destiny! While jocund smiles
Wreathed on the infant's face, as if sweet spirits
Suggested pleasant fancies to its soul,
The ruffians broke upon us—seized the child—
Dashed through the thicket to the beetling rock
'Neath which the deep sea eddies; I stood still,
As stricken into stone: I heard him cry,
Pressed by the rudeness of the murderer's grip,
Severer ill unfearing—then the splash
Of waters that shall cover him forever;
And could not stir to save him!
Ion. And the mother?
Ad. She spake no word; but clasped me in her arms,
And laid her down to die! A lingering gaze
Of love she fixed on me,— none other loved,—
And so passed from hence. By Jupiter! her look,
Her dying patience glimmers in thy face!
She lives again! She looks upon me now!
There's magic in't. Bear with me—I am childish.
Enter Crythes and Guards.
Why art thou here?
Cry. The dial points the hour.
Ad. Dost thou not see that horrid purpose passed?
Hast thou no heart—no sense?
Cry. Scarce half an hour
Hath flown since the command on which I wait.
Ad. Scarce half an hour ! Years, years have rolled since then.
Begone ! Remove that pageantry of death;
It blasts my sight. And hearken! Touch a hair
Of this brave youth, or look on him as now,
With thy cold headsman's eye, and yonder band
Shall not expect a fearful show in vain.
Hence ! without a word.
What wouldst thou have me do?
Ion. Let thy awakened heart speak its own language:
Convene thy sages; frankly, nobly meet them;