Saint's Tragedy, The - Scene 3

The Gateway of a Convent. Night.

Enter Conrad.

Con . This night she swears obedience to me! Wondrous Lord!
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.

Eliz . I saw him just before us: let us onward;
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.
Guta . Is it not a double bondage?
A husband's will is clog enough. Be sure,
Though free, I crave more freedom.
Eliz . So do I —
This servitude shall free me — from myself.
Therefore I'll swear.
Isen . To what?
Eliz . I know not wholly:
But this I know, that I shall swear to-night
To yield my will unto a wiser will;
To see God's truth through eyes which, like the eagle's,
From higher Alps undazzled eye the sun.
Compelled to discipline from which my sloth
Would shrink, unbidden, — to deep devious paths
Which my dull sight would miss, I now can plunge,
And dare life's eddies fearless.
Isen . You will repent it.
Eliz . I do repent, even now. Therefore I'll swear
And bind myself to that, which once being right,
Will not be less right, when I shrink from it
No; if the end be gained — if I be raised
To freer, nobler use, I'll dare, I'll welcome
Him and his means, though they were racks and flames
Come, ladies, let us in, and to the chapel.
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