Poetical Tragedies

Mordred: A Tragedy in Five Acts.

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

ACT IV.


 

SCENE II.—SIR LAUNCELOT's apartment, midnight. Enter several Knights with torches and swords.

     Sir Ban.     Hello there! wake up!

 

     Knights.     Hello! Within! Within! (Loud knocking heard at the doors.

  Enter several other knights. Enter SIR LAUNCELOT.)

 

     Laun.     What means this that ye be armed?

 

     Sir Ban.     Strange horrors woke us frozen from our beds. Hideous

  nightmares beset us. Some heard moanings, some that grave-bells rang, and others saw strange spectres, and I myself heard clash of mighty arms, and quick each man found himself leaped form his bed, naked blade in hand. What may it portend? We be much affrighted!

 

     Laun.     ’Tis a true portent. Now the end hath come

Of peace and happiness for this dooméd kingdom.
To-night on private meeting with the Queen,
In her apartments, there was I surrounded,
And hounded traitor, slew so many knights,
There’s scarce one left to tell the King’s story.

 

     Knights.     A most foul and dastard attack! The kingdom is doomed.

 

Enter a Messenger.

 

     Laun.     The Queen! quick! the Queen! what of her?

 

     Mess.     An order hath come in the King’s name;

She is to be burnt tomorrow noon.

 

     Laun.     Never! by my blade, she shall not die!

 

     Knights.     She shall not! she shall not! on our lives!