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The Regent: A Drama In One Act
by [?]

I tell you, she’s my sister!

Well, an you will, bridle on that. Lord Lucio,
You named the Countess Fulvia. To my sorrow,
Two hours ago I called on her and laid her
Under arrest.

The devil! For what?

For that
A lady, whose lord keeps summer in the hills
To nurse a gouty foot, should penalize
His dutiful return by shutting doors
And hanging out a ladder made of rope,
Or prove its safety by rehearsing it
Upon a heavier man.

I’ll go to her.
Oh, this is infamous!

Nay, be advised:
No hardship irks the lady, save to sit
At home and feed her sparrows; nor no worse
Annoy than from her balcony to spy
(Should the eye rove) a Switzer of the Guard
At post between her raspberry-canes, to watch
And fright the thrushes from forbidden fruit.

Infamous! infamous!

Enough, my lord:
The Regent!

[Doors of the Chapel open. The organ sounds,
with voices of choir chanting the recessional.
The Court enters from Mass, attending the
Regent Ottilia and her son Tonino. She wears
a crown and heavy dalmatic. Her brother
Lucio, controlling himself with an effort, kisses
her hand and conducts her to the marble bench,
which serves for her Chair of State. She bows,
receiving the homage of the crowd; but, after
seating herself, appears for a few moments unconscious
of her surroundings. Then, as her
rosary slips from her fingers and falls heavily
at her feet, she speaks.]

So slips the chain linking this world with Heaven,
And drops me back to earth: so slips the chain
That hangs my spirit to the Redeemer’s cross
Above pollution in the pure swept air
Whereunder frets this hive: so slips the chain–

(She starts up)

–God! the dear sound! Was that his anchor dropped?
Speak to the watchman, one! Call to the watch!
What news?

Aloft! What news?

No sail as yet!

Ah, pardon, sirs! My ears are strung to-day,
And play false airs invented by the wind.
Methought a hawse-pipe rattled …

(chants to his viol).

Shepherds, see–
Lo! What a mariner love hath made me!

What chants the Fool?

Madonna, ’tis a trifle
Made by a silly poet on wives that stand
All night at windows listening the surf–
Now he comes! Will he come? Alas! no, no!

Peace, lively! Madam, there is news–brave news!
I’m from the watch-house. There the pilots tell
Of sixteen sail to the southward! Sixteen sail,
And nearing fast!

Praise God! dear Lucio!

[She has seated herself again. She takes Lucio’s
hand and speaks, petting it.]

What? Glowing with my happiness? That’s like you.
But for yourself the hour, too, holds release.

(between sullenness and shame, with a glance at Cesario).


You will forgive? I have great need
To be forgiven: sadly I have been slack
In guardianship, and by so much betrayed
My promise to our mother’s passing soul.
Myself in cares immersed, I left the child
Among his toys–and turn to find him man–
But yet so much a boy that boyhood can
(Wistfully) Laugh in his honest eyes? Forgive me, Lucio!
Tell me, whate’er have slackened, there has slipped
No knot of love. To-morrow we’ll make sport,
Be playmates and invent new games, and old–
Wreath flowers for crowns–