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Louis XI, an historical drama in three acts online

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cause ; therefore, let us look to ourselves.

Exeunt L.H.D.



LOUIS XI. [ACT III.



SCENE III. Grand Hall of Audience Large folding windows
to open, c., Scaffold erected beyond Throne, L., Couch, R.C.
The Court assembled Louis totters on R.U.E., supported, he
wears the Crown, and is enveloped in large robe.

TRI*. Yon ghost the King ? My reign is ended, then !

Louis, (slowly advancing, then suddenly stopping) These who
are they ?

OLIV. Oliver, Sire.

Louis. Ha ! thou Oliver ay my faithful

OLIV. Here is Comine, and Tristan.

Louis. I see them aye, and recognise them too (leans on chair)
Welcome, friends! (peevishly to his ATTENDANTS) Leave me,
I need you not. Begone, I say !

ATTENDANTS retire L.H. 2 E.

OLIV. Repose awhile.

LODIS. Why d'ye think 1 cannot stand? (seats himself on sofa)

Coif. Oh, Sire, as well as I ; but do not overtax your strength.

Louis, (turns to TRISTAN) Why does he look at me with that
unmoved and melancholy gaze ? Does he think me changed ? Who
told thee so, old friend ?

TRIS. Who ? me ? I think I never saw you looking better.
(aside) He has not an hour's life in him !

Louis. So I am. So, to work to business ! Introduce the
Court. We will hold a levee now. (gradually falls asleep)

OLIV. (in an under tone) He sleeps !

COM. 'Twere well to warn him of his coming death.

TBIS. Warn him ? and why ?

Coal. E'en now his feeble will might exercise itself in generous
deeds.

TRIS. Aye, he might have some legacy to leave us.

OLIV. You tell him, then.

TRIS. It needs one whom he loves, who knows the art to allay the
bitter news, just guch a one as you.

OLIV. Me?

COM. ")
and \ Yes you.

TRIS. J

OLIV. My tender love for him my strong emotion would spoil
all. It needs a man of strong resolves. Comine, now, has just the
tongue for such a task.

COM. Me ? why so ? Twere better out at once, boldly, as Tristan
would, and end it.

TRIS. Come confess, between ourselves, 'tis no such pleasant
thing.

Louis, (rousing himself) Why do you whisper thus ? Where's
Coitier? Go, tell him I am here.

THIS. But, Sire, yon know



SCENES.] LOUIS XL 37

Louis. I know he is not here, (sternly) Obey !



Exit TRISTAN, R.H. Louis walks to front, supported by
COMINK and OLIVER.

I feel this morning strong enough to try that Barbary steed I had
from Spain. Go, Oliver, bid my equerry prepare it.

OLIV. (R., astonished) What, Sire ?

Louis. I'll take a gallop through the forest announce the King
is starting for the cliase.

OLIV. Must I ?

Louis. I'll too try the falcon Crooked-back Richard has from
England sent. What ! not yet gone ?

Exit OLIVER, R.H

This pomp sits heavy on me j why have they buried me in these
robes? take off my crown. (CosiiNE takes off hia crown) There,
it oppresses me ! There ! place it near me there ! No ! beneath
my eyes my hand that I may grasp it !

COM. Believe me, none wonld dare to touch it, Sire.

Louis. No death would be their doom, that they know.

Enter COITIER, led by TRISTAN, K.

COIT. (to TRISTAN) Fear not, the King shall bear it from my-
self. I'll tell him.

Louis. Ha ! 'tis thou, good Coitier ! Whence comest thou ?

CofT. Whence ? On my soul, it no small patience needs to an-
swer calmly to this raillery ! Whence come I ?

Louis. Tell me!

COIT. See this wounded hand bruised, mangled, by your gaoler's
chains !

Louis. I know not what you mean !

COIT. Whence come I ? From your dungeon !

Louis. Thou ? Who sent thee thither ?

COIT. (aside) Who? (aloud) Thyself!

Louis, (anxiously approaching COITIER) Whence where for
what ?

COIT. (indignantly) To charge me with so base a plot ! Could I
have perpetrated a crime like this, -what could have hindered me ?
No one interfered. Unarmed, I could have done the deed, and left
no trace. What ! hide a man behind your bed ?

Louis, (taking COITIER'S hand) Hold, good Coitier, hold !

COIT. Conceal him ?

Louis. Hist! A frightful dream! I remember a man behind
those curtains to murder me ! Aye a dagger ! Ha ! it was
Nemours Nemours ! No mercy for him none !

COM. (aside to COITIER) What hast thou done? He had for-
gotten him.

COIT. Forgotten !



38 LOUIS XI. [ACT III.

Louis. It was Nemours. I do remember all ; but he was taken.
(to TRISTAN, R.) -Is he dead ?

TRIS. (R.) I waited, Sire

Louis, (furious) What, traitor, not dead yet ?

TRIS. (trembling) The Dauphin, Sire, in pity for his fate, bid me
suspend'

Louis. An order from his King. How now how now ! What's
happened? Did I hear aright? Am I dead what's this? My
son my son ; beware, who reigns too soon, may chance not reign
at all.

COIT. (L.C. coming down) Dismiss at once all notions of revenge.
Repent, your death's at hand.

Louis, (staggers back) Eh ! what ?

COIT. This very day is all that's left thee ; make good use of it.

Louis. This day my last. No, no ! Coitier, 'tis false ! (sinte
upon sofa)

COIT. By yon sun which shines above us, 'tis true ; therefore
weigh well what you do. One murder more will add fresh torture:-
to your dying soul. You'll answer for't.

Louis, (conscience stricken, then rushes to TRISTAN, R.H./wnous)
Tristan, away, and execute my will ! His head within the hour, or
yours shall answer it. Away, away !

Exit TRISTAN.

(staggers back towards couch, R.C., then falls on it) Come, Coitier,
tell me true, confess you only meant to frighten me. Is't not so, say ?

COIT. I have spoken the simple truth.

Louis. Your words freeze up my soul. My life's blood thickens.
Yes, 'tis true. I'm choked ! Oh, agony ! this is not death, good
Coitier. No, 'tis weakness this. Say it is but weakness, but not
death. It is not death. Comine Coitier.

COIT. Go go fesch the Dauphin.

Exit COMINE hastily, L.H.

Louis. Save me, good Coitier ; you can you can^-eave' '(falls
swooning on the. couch)

COIT. (silently gazing at side of couch) I'm free at last. The tyrant
is no more. His marble hands, his lips, his fixed eyes. Ah ! his
heart still beats he may recover yet. Shall I restore him ? (hears
the bell toll) No ! Nature deal with him as thou wilt ; by his death
lives Nemours the headsman's labour spared. But here's the Pri nee

Enter DAUPHIN, and COMINE, L.H. 2 E.

DAU. (crossing to Louis, on couch, R.H.) My father, speak but
one word, (to COITIER) What, too late! Has he then ceased to
live, and left me here to mourn awhile alone ? (DAUPHIN kneels by
tide of bed) Father, liege, Sovereign. Alas, those eyes look not severely
on me now, sealed close by death ; this hand I now may clasp, and
that I may bedew it with my tears, I had to wait until 'twas lifeless.
And now 'tis death, no tenderness of thine allows these lips to press it.
(takes up the crown from table, R.H.) Oh, cruel power! Must J
accept thee now pomps and baubles, what's their real worth ? Fare-



SCENES.] LOUIS XI. 39

well all peace to him that wears a crown ! Must it then, now, en-
circle my young brow, and make me old before my time ? Yet,
when it's mine of right, oh,may I prove a king whom France can
love, love France myself, defend the oppressed, uphold all honest
rights, make justice supreme, and love my subjects as myself. A
good king can never groan beneath a crown.

Enter MARIE, breathless, L.H.

Marie!

MARIE. The ring 'tis not too late ! (shows the ring) Your pro-
mise, Prince, (bell tolls) Quick ! Hark, yonder bell proclaims his
instant death. For pity, save Nemours!)

Louis, (faintly recovers, stretches out his hand to feel for the
crown, rises unseen by the DAUPHIN or MARIE)

DAU. Nemours! I ordered Tristan to delay his punishment.

MARIE. They lead him to the scaffold now.

DAC. Marie, I do redeem my pledge. Nemours is

Louis, advancing, places his hand on the DAUPHIN'S
shoulder, who utters a cry and falls on his knee and offers
back the crown Louis staggers back, and falls on couch,
R.C.

Enter FRANCOIS DE PAULS and COMINE, L.H. OLIVER, R., and
all the Court MARIE faints, and is lifted up by COMINE
OFFICEB. and ARCHER GUARD, R.H.

Louis. No, no! Keep keep it it is thine. Absolve me, Father,
haste, I hear my call. Pray for the safety of my deathless soul.
Save it. I repent of all. I'm humble all earthly power I now
despise.

COIT. Nemours, Sire, spare Nemours !

FRAN. As you would be spared above, show mercy now !

Louis. Be it so, then ! I spare I spare !

COM. Away if yet he lives ! Speed speed !

COMINE and COURTIERS hurry offL.u.B. BELL.

Louis. That bell ! Oh, cease that bell it tolls for me ! Pray
for me, father ! I do repent me ! I cast aside my pomp, I have
done with it I do despise it utterly ! Ha ! the fell tyrant has me
his grip is on my heart ! Where shall I find peace ?

Centre windows are thrown open and discover the Scene of
Execution GUARDS surround the place Platform raised
EXECUTIONER, with axe, near block covered with black
NEMOURS PRIESTS GUARDS with torches MALE
nnd FEMALE PEASANTS HERALDS OFFICERS, $c.
COMINE and Two NOBLES are seen bringing NEMOURS
front the block ; they descend clown steps.



40 LOUIS XI.



Enter NEMODKS, who embraces MARIE.

COIT. There, Sire, in your first act of mercy, see your only hope !

Louis. Hope hope? Aye, speak of that ! Life life! Sustain
me, Coitier ! you all pray for me pray ! (they all kneel except
FRANCOIS DE PAULE) Pray, I entreat! pray, I command! (falls
dead on couch)

TRUMPETS wail SOFT Music NOBLES, PAGES, %c.,form
a TABLEAU of interest.



Curtain.



ERRATUM.

In Title-page, for ''CAsiwEn" read " Casimir."



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Online LibraryW. R. S MarkwellLouis XI, an historical drama in three acts → online text (page 4 of 4)