Historical Tragedy founded upon the life and character
of the great Pope Gregory VII.
Pope Gregory VII.
HENRY IV., of Germany.
PETER DAMIANI, a monk (friend of Hildebrand).
GERBHERT, a married priest of Milan.
ARIALD, a decretal preacher (lover of Margaret).
ARNULPH, a decretal preacher.
BRUNELLI, a cardinal.
Bishop of Bamburg.
WOLF, Lord of Bamburg, a German noble.
BRUN, a monk.
WAST, a monk.
Queen of Germany.
MARGARET, wife of Gerbhert and daughter of Hildebrand.
CATHERINE, mother of Margaret and former wife of
Cardinals, Lords, Bishops, Soldiers, Monks, Burghers
ACT I. SCENE I.
(Rise outer curtain.)
An inn-yard in Milan. Two Burghers discovered seated
at a table, drinking.
B. Well, well, these be the strange days indeed,
B. (rather drunk.) How now, neighbor Burnard,
B. Heard’st thou not the news, good neighbor?
But with thy nose always i’ the wine-pot thou
canst not know anything aside its rim.
2nd B. Wine-pot, wine-pot, thou sayest! Ha, ha! nose
i’ the wine-pot, thou sayest! ’Tis better
than sticking it into every business save thine own,
hey! neighbor Burnard? But what be this news that would
keep the nose out o’ the wine-pot?
B. There be a new Pope at Rome, the monk Hildebrand.
How like you that?
God keep us all! Now thou dost say it? It seemeth they
be making new Popes every Michaelmas. This were no reason
for to keep the nose outside the wine-pot. Here’s
to his health, God save him! ’Twere a merry grape
was squeezed for this, good neighbor. Here’s long
life to thee an’ the Holy Pope, and especially
to the royal Henry. Soon may he come to Italy.
It be said Henry cannot sleep o’ nights i’
his bed for the making of this same Pope, Hildebrand,
or Hellbrand, as some folks call him. But hast thou
heard the greater news [Page 255]?
Nay, what now? Nothing be new now. Nothing be new, along
o’ fighting and preaching and damning in the Church
and State. Nothing be new save drinking, and that be
ever new. Ha, ha! What else be new?
’Tis concerning this same scarce-baked Pope, this
Hellbrand. ’Tis said he hath sworn by the mass
and all the saints never to rest until he hath unwived
all the priests i’ Europe. How like you that,
good neighbor Burnard?
Ho! ho! ’Tis a good joke. Unwive the priests!
’Tis a good joke. ’Twere well for me and
thee did he swear a vow to unwive all the burghers i’
Milan. ’Twould gie one I know more peace i’
his bed o’ nights. ’Tis the priests ever
have all the good fortune i’ Europe. Ah me, ah
me! ’Tis ever so.
Yea, but there’s more news yet, good neighbour.
This same Hellbrand, which be a good name for him if
he be Pope, hath sent out two wondrous preachers, endowed
with uncommon powers of tongue and orders, to spread
this same doctrine in all Italy and throughout Europe;
an’ it be said they took fearsome oaths, on pain
of eternal damnation, not to rest till they had done
so; an’ further, ’tis said they be here
to-night to preach i’ the market.
(rising.) Yea, i’ Milan, here, i’
Well, now! It do be passing strange! Well, now! It be
an ill law, and he be a damn liar who saith not. A most
unnatural law, for our good pastor. Were it my case,
now, it were fitting, (Ist goes out) who taketh
a lecture every midnight near upon cock-crow, such as
no Pope’s bull could outwit in language an’
rhetoric. Say, good neighbor, what thinkest thou? Might
I not be made a priest? What be qualifications? Ha!
he hath gone! I could drink with an abbot, yea, an archbishop.
Yea, I’ll see this same Hellbrand about the matter;
it shall be done, be done, ha, ha! it shall be done
[Page 256]! [Reels
(Rise inner curtain) The
Enter several jolly Monks.
be a jolly life,
care nor ill have we;
neither toil nor starve nor beg,
live right merrily.
No wife to scold, no child to squall,
put us on the rack;
drink good wine, we kiss the maids,
the Pope is at our back.
So here’s unto the jolly monk, [All grasp hands.
here’s to him, alack! [All clench fists.
turn him from his board and bunk,
the Pope is at his back.
The Pope is at our back, good Frères,
Pope is at our back;
fleece the churls, we scorn the King,
the Pope is at our back. [All
a great crowd of Burghers, men and women, who fill the
market. Enter ARNULPH and ARIALD,
the decretal preachers. ARNULPH ascends
a pulpit to harangue the crowd.
Know ye, Citizens and Burghers of Milan, that whereas
in the past, by reason of evils and curses, through
the power of the Devil, Holy Church hath fallen into
abomination, to the shame of men and sorrow of Heaven,
it hath here, now, and at this time, behooved her to
cast off certain of these abominations, to wit, especially
that most heinous sin, whereby the priests of the altar
do, without grace and carnally given, co-habit in concubinage
with those weaker vessels, even as do the common and
unsanctified of humanity; wherefore know ye, Citizens
[Page 257] and Burghers of this city
of Milan, that the Holy Father doth now and at this
time, by me and through me, instruct you each and collectively,
of the dreadful enormity of this most damnable sin,
whereby the holy priesthood is made of none effect,
and Holy Church doth languish in weakness and vassalage
to the princes and lords of this carnal world,—know
Burgher. Most reverend Doctor, cut ye short the
“know ye’s” an’ the “wherefores”
and th’ “verbiations” an’ the
“latinities” an’ come down from your
high-flown rostrum an’ tell us the Church’s
will. We be plain men.
Burghers. Well done, Big Gellert. Thou art in the
right of it. Bravo, Gellert!
Insolent lump! Wouldst thou interrupt a doctor of Holy
Holy Church confound him and thee, too, thou sour-faced
varlet! Who’s a-talking of Holy Church? He is
but a stray rooster from some mad convent, an’
thou his mate ranting on a mad doctrine. Holy Church
teacheth no such sinful doctrine. Be we fools?
Well hit, Big Gellert, thou canst give him the latinities
of it. Hit him back, old pigeon!
thou impious mountain of mortality, an’ ye foolish
burghers, lest ye insult in me a power that is behind
Come, come, get thee down; we want no such strange doctrines.
We have had clergy, good men with wives and chicks i’
Milan, these centuries back, an’ we be no Sodom.
ARN. I know
not your customs, but in the name of Holy Church, I,
Arnulph, hereby command ye, on pain of deepest Hell
hereafter, that ye abstain from all masses made or performed
by any priest who continues in this unholy state, for
I tell you, be he priest, archdeacon, bishop or archbishop,
he is accursed, and doubly accursed.
be a big curse, indeed, an’, by ’r Lady,
thou mouthest it well [Page 258].
Dost thou tell us our good pastor be in mortal sin because
he liveth with a good wife as do other men?
I not said it?
art thou a brazen liar, an’ comest thou down I
will give thee the non of it on thy brazen chops, thou
leather-lunged varlet of Satan!
ARN. Dog of
Hell, the arm that toucheth me Heaven will wither! [A
great clamor arises
GERBHERT, the Parish Priest.
What meaneth this disturbance i’ my parish? I
thought I ruled a peaceful, God-fearing people, an’
not a brawling rabble.
good father, ’tis yon loud-mouthed dog of Satan
hath insulted you and all Milan by his mad heresy.
me, good Gellert? (to ARNULPH) Who are you
who without my license come disturbing my flock with
thine unseemly harangues? Come down from yon pulpit!
(to the crowd) Good people, in God's name,
I will not come down till I have delivered this my message
to this foolish mob, an’ to thee, thou carnal-minded
priest. In the name of the Holy Church I exhort ye—
GEL. He saith,
Pastor Gerbhert, that thou canst no more make masses,
being a wedded man.
ARNULPH) Be this true?
ARN. It is
true, by the Mother of God. An’ thou wilt feel
it, too, ere thou art an hour older.
man, thou art mad! this cannot be!
even so as we be Holy Church’s men.
art thou not Ariald, once of Rome?
AR. Yea, I
am that same Ariald.
tell me, Ariald, by our one-time friendship, that this
man be mad, an’ his message but a foolish doctrine
AR. Nay, Gerbhert,
but ’tis thou art foolish, an’ this law
but too true; thou must obey.
will I fight this mad heresy, this inhuman code. That
we must give up our wives an’ babes, our pure
homes, an’ all that is holiest on earth! Nay,
it cannot be! ’Tis devilish!
AR. But thou
must obey or be driven out.
thou knowest my Margaret, thou knowest her sweet nature,
her holy conversation. She hath no devil, that her loving
should make me unworthy.
damnable, good father. But give me the word, an’
we will trounce them out o’ the market.
MARGARET, thePriest’s Wife.
Gerbhert! Good citizens, have you seen the pastor? Mother
Bernard, poor soul, needeth the last rites; she be dying.
Aye, thou wert ever an angel of mercy from heaven to
the sick an’ poor.
What aileth thee, Gerbhert? What may be the matter?
Come hither, Margaret. This man telleth me
So strange a thing, I know not if he be mad
Who sayeth it, or I who hear his words.
He sayeth I am no more a priest of God
While I’m thy husband.
Not priest of God while thou art husband? Nay,
But he is mad indeed, for thou art both
A good, kind pastor, as these people know,
And, as I know, a good and loving husband.
He saith ’tis some new law within the Church.
He saith in sooth, sweet Margaret, I must either
Put thee away or leave the priesthood.
An’ what say you, my Gerbhert?
That I will fight it to the bitter end.
I will be both, or there’s no God in heaven [Page
Ariald, thou knowest my good Margaret,
The woman of my choice, my youth’s one love,
I will not give her up. The Holy Father
Shall know of this strange doctrine. He shall judge
’Twixt thee and me.
Know then, thou carnal priest, that even now
He hath decided; ’tis by his own will
That we be here. Here is his written word.
up thePope’s bull.
further, you shall choose you even now.
Thou shalt not shrive yon dying woman till
Thou hast renounced this woman.
My sweet Margaret, put your trust in me.
(to ARNULPH) Thou cruel preacher, show me yon
Whose horns do even now rend me. Tell me now
’Tis but a lie and not great Hildebrand’s.
I knew him once, he seemed a kindly man,
And never one to part a wife and husband.
Let me see yon paper, let me see thou liest.
Nay, ’tis the Pope’s name. This be a damned
Good Father Gerbhert, tell us if this paper
Be what he saith.
paper to GERBHERT, who reads. MARGARET
Margaret, come not so near; O Margaret, come not so
near,—I love thee, Margaret—but—O
Gerbhert, Gerbhert, thou wilt not desert me! Remember
our sweet babe.
Margaret, touch not that man. He is God's own. Leave
Even so. Wouldst thou curse him with thy touch?
Evil Man! Good friends, forgive my misery!
But even now, as I did pass our home,
I left his little one, and mine, asleep,
His sweet face pillowed on his rosy arm [Page
I bent and kissed him, he did look so like
His father. And now, good friends, forgive me; it is
A passing madness, but it seemed these men
Had built a wall of hideous black between
Me and my husband.
Margaret, back! as thou lovest me!
Nay, touch me not, I am a banished man.
Good friends, brave Gellert, pardon my poor feelings,
For I am now afflicted by dread Heaven
For some gone, unknown sin of my past youth.
Perchance I murdered one in hideous sleep,
Strangled some infant on its mother’s breast,
Violated some pure sanctuary,
That this dread blackness lieth on me now.
O Margaret, thou art springtime vanished past,
And this be autumn all dead leaves and rain,
With all of mem’ry’s summer ’twixt
To think and dream forever. Forgive, my friends,
This week unseemliness in me, your pastor.
I ever did love mercy, dealt but tardily
With those who seemed to suffer more than sin,
Looked up to heaven and led my people, trusting;
And now I am brought beneath the cruelest hand
That ever pointed two roads to a man.
Arnulph, Ariald, forgive my former heat,
You do but your bare duty. Friends, they’re right,
And I, your whilom pastor, in the wrong,
For I mistook the face of earth’s poor love
And dreamed a stair of human happiness
Did lead to heaven. See me now rebuked.
’Tis the Pope’s will. Arnulph, read thou
I charge thee, as the pastor of this parish,
That you leave out no word, however hard,
Nor soften down one sentence of this curse
Or its conditions.
Of a surety I’ll not.
He shall not! And, harken you, good people, do you listen
Gerbhert, come home! I will not hear that curse
That parts us twain. My breaking heart, it seems,
Doth hear our baby cry.
You would silence the angels. Work you this deed,
I tell you, man, you shut all Heaven out
And let in Hell; you desolate glad homes
By your brute ministry that knows not love.
The love of Heaven knoweth not carnal love.
Forgive me, sir! Stern sir! would woman’s tears
But move you, would woman’s pleaded prayers
But change you to the softest kindly thought,
I would beg of you, read not that dread curse!
Margaret, by your love for me, be silent.
In the name of God, amen: Gregory the Seventh by the
will of Heaven, Pope, Vicar of Christ, successor of
Holy Peter, sendeth greeting to all Christian peoples,
and commandeth, that any priest living with a woman
in the so-called marriage state shall be accursed: that
any person who receiveth at his hands any or more offices
of Holy Church shall also be accursed. That furthermore,
all offices so exercised by him shall not only be rendered
null and void of all good effect, but shall rather be
regarded by Holy Church as acts accursed. That this
same law be proclaimed in all parishes throughout Christendom.
Know ye that this be my will.
O God, Gerbhert, where art thou?
touch me not; we must obey
When Heaven speaks.
MAR. Not when
it utters thunders such as this [Page 263].
Gerbhert, ’twixt this woman and thine office.
Take her with thee to Hell, or both win Heaven.
GERB. I have
chosen. Let me go and die!
MAR. O Gerbhert,
come and kiss our little babe,
Say one good-bye, to home, before you go.
I’ll not detain you, I say it on my knees,
I’ll not detain you.
would you curse us with your love?
I can hear the Holy Father’s voice,
Though he’s in Rome, saying nay, nay, to thee.
Farewell, Margaret, we will meet in heaven.
out with ARNULPH and ARIALD.
Nay, I am mad, ’twas this o’er-nursing did
Gerbhert, tell me, tell me, I am mad.
Good friends, oh, pardon your poor Margaret.
Oh, who will lead me home!
ACT I. SCENE 2.
of Pastor Gerbhert.
CATHERINE, mother to MARGARET.
What can keep her, what can keep her? Oh, here she comes.
Mother, mother, take me, take me home.
Home? Where be home? Are not these walls familiar?
Did they not mean the place where we had dwelt,
And hoped and loved? And what are they made now,
But empty phantasies of a broken past [Page
O mother, mother, bring me to my child.
The world is dead, the world is aged and dead!
CATH. My God,
my God, Margaret, are you mad?
MAR. My husband!
Oh, my husband!
What of Gerbhert? Is he dead?
dead to me.
speak in riddles, daughter.
is a hideous riddle unto some,
That it were better they had never solved.
I am your mother. Tell me quick,
Gerbhert, where is Gerbhert? Will he come?
MAR. He will
never come. O mother! mother!
are your words? Where hath he gone, my child?
MAR. How can
I tell you? ’Tis the Church’s will
That he must leave me, I must be no wife,
Or he no priest. The holy Pope hath sworn it.
Pope! The Pope, you say?
not the Pope. You are dreaming, dreaming, child;
This working with the sick hath turned your brain.
mother, ’twere a blessing were I mad.
’Tis only but too true, I heard it now
Out in the market. Gerbhert heard it, too,
And he hath gone. O God! yes, he hath gone,
And on his face the doom of Death was writ.
of Heaven! and it hath come to this!
Is there no God, that men in Heaven’s name
Break up earth’s homes, and make a waste like
Daughter, Margaret, where hath Gerbhert gone?
MAR. Let me
die. But let me die in peace.
nay, this shall not be, this hideous law
Must drift aside. Daughter, hearken me.
is no hope. The Pope hath willed it so [Page
he will hear me, I will make him hear
I have a secret you have never known,
Nor any in Italy.
MAR. The Cardinals
at Rome will never hear thee.
Gregory will never, never hear thee.
not for me; I will at once to Rome
And crush this evil matter, get his will
To bring back Gerbhert. If he will not hearken—
MAR. We can
CATH. I will
go and make all matters ready,
So early dawn surprise me on my journey.
Nay, mother, leave me not. I feel as though
All life were desolated. Leave me not.
child cries within.
Yea, my sweet, fatherless babe, I’ll come to thee,
Not all Rome’s Popes can say nay, nay, to that.
out) O thou that cursed me in my early days,
And cast this shadow all across my life,
Wilt thou now add this sorrow to mine age?
And darken my last years? Is there no God?
O Night, who art the same, whose stars look down
On peace and madness, human joy and pain,
If there be help within thy mighty depths
For earth’s poor creatures, help me, help me,
She is alone. My power, this is thine hour.
O Gerbhert! have you come?
Margaret [Page 266]!
Sir!—Oh, cruel disappointment! I had thought
It were my husband.
’Tis but a friend.
Then, friend, bring back my husband, bring him back!
On my knees I beg it.
I may not, Margaret; Heaven only hath power
To stay your parting. Think no more on Gerbhert.
Then wherefore here?
In pity for your sorrow I have come.
A wedded woman, yet no longer wed,
So young and fair, so helpless to protect
Yourself and child against this wicked world:
Yea, I would help you.
My heart, had it but room for else than sorrow,
Would thank your kindness. You can help me best
By bringing back the father of my child,
The friend who one-time loved you.
It cannot be. In all things else than that
My power can help you. You sin grievous sin
When you still mourn him.
Nay, nay, if sin, then life is all one sin,
One hideous hell, and God but a great devil.
Woman, you blaspheme.
Nay, rather thou blasphemest, teaching me
That human love be contraband to heaven.
Not all your Popes and Cardinals standing by
Can make me, looking on my baby’s face,
Forget his father.
Margaret, by this love you bear your child,
Forget this Gerbhert. He was never yours.
By right divine he ever was Holy Church’s.
You only damn his soul do you succeed.
Never! never! This be hideous, hideous!
My womanhood calls out against this lie.
If you are wise you will forget this man [Page
I tell you he is dead to you and earth.
A few short years for prayer and cloister tears
Are all that’s left him. Margaret, you are fair,
And young and budding for the joys of earth.
Forget this Gerbhert. There are other men
Would seek thy love.
What mean these words? Insult not this my sorrow.
Margaret, if thou wouldst only but trust me,
My love is thine.
Margaret, know my power. Thou art alone,
With me to make thy life a hell or heaven.
Nay, I have God. O Heaven, show thy face
Through this dread blackness!
Not God nor any can give thee succour now.
Thy husband dead to thee for evermore,
Choose! Black Starvation knocketh at thy door!
Pity thy child if thou wilt not thyself.
I have long loved thee. Margaret, trust to me;
Bethink thee of thy child.
Out! out! blasphemer! If the Church be vile,
If justice be swept from earth and pity dead,
Though devils walk this world, though God be gone,
Know there be left one righteous woman’s scorn
For such as thee!
When thou dost see bleak desolation come,
Gaunt, burning hunger fill thy baby’s eyes,
Thou’lt come to me.
If thou be Satan, thou black Prince of Fiends,
Thou wearest this man’s form, thou firest his
(to ARIALD) Go! go! ere I forget my womanhood.
(going out) Remember!
If there be nothing in this world for me,
I have a friend no priest nor Pope can take,
Whose name be Death [Page 268].
ACT II. SCENE I.
room in the Papal Palace at Rome.
HILDEBRAND as Pope and PETER DAMIANI, a
Know, Peter, I am of one single purpose,
To make all Europe bow to Gregory’s knee,
To build the power of God o’er human thrones,
And humble kings to Christ by me, His Legate.
thou art Hildebrand.
To make the Crown subservient to the Cross
In all things; kill our simony;
And make the Church sole granter of all fiefs
In bishopric or abbey; hold all kings
In spiritual feudality to my will,
To wear or doff their crowns at word of Heaven,
As represent in me, God's vicarate.
There spake Peter, indeed.
For this same reason I carry this purpose now,
To separate humanity from the Church,
And re-create a world within this world,
A kingdom in these kingdoms, alienate
From all the loves and ties that weaken men,
By rendering all the priesthood celibate,
Espousèd only unto Holy Church.
Wilt carry this purpose to the bitter end?
Yea, will I, unwive I half the world.
Now will God's kingdom rise and Hell’s go down,
With man’s presumption. Now we’ll get our
Clutched at the throats of all these bloody princes.
Ha, ha! thou, too, hast caught a hate for kings [Page
Who ever saw a monk who loved a king?
The king was ever our natural enemy.
But see in me no heaven-brooding monk,
But many men in one, a pope, a king,
A fierce ambition, like a burning flame,
To put these times and peoples ’neath my feet,
And conquer empires to my finger’s will,
So that I nod, and all kings nod with me.
This be the ruling passion of my life.
It saved me from the common daily sins.
Dost thou know, Damiani, I once loved
A woman, even as other men have loved;
Did marry her, o’ercome by human passion;
But, driven by the demons of my fate,
Fled from her sight unto a monastery,
Where nights of prayer and fasting weaned my heart
To larger hopes and cravings. Never since
Have I set eyes upon my youthful love,
Nor heard of her, though sometimes in my dreams
She comes back like a nightmare to my heart.
’Tis strange that Heaven makes our being so.
But she hath gone, a phantasma upon
The fading walls of my heart’s memory.
I will not dwell upon her.
Gregory, thou wouldst do well to keep
A guard upon thy passions.
Dost know me, Peter? I am Hildebrand.
The ages after they will know of me
As one who ruled himself and all the world
With iron hand, who changed the course of nature,
And rode unmoved o’er rivers of human tears
For God's high glory.
Unwive the priests! Unwive the priests! ’Tis my
Peter, Peter, thou art o’er-hard on woman;
She is not all the devil thou hast thought her.
Yea, devil! devil! Mention not the name!
They are all devils, even thy holy Princess [Page
Yea, Gregory, I say it to thy face.
’Tis not the Pope she leans on, ’tis the
I tell thee, Hildebrand, Beatrice loveth thee,
And thou art Pope. O Woman, Woman, Woman!
Thou Satan’s influence to damn this world!
Ah, Peter, thou must mistakest Beatrice!
If ever a daughter of the Mother of God
Did move with saintly footsteps o’er this earth,
’Twas Beatrice. All holy homes of God
Within her happy Duchy rise to bless her.
The grateful poor who dwell in her own cities
Would do her reverence. Peter, thou art mad
On this one subject. Now to another matter.
Here is the map of Europe, all mine own.
The red Wolf of the Normans he may growl,
The Tigers of the south may snarl and whine,
But all are mine, are mine! I hold all sheep,
The many flocks that go to make my fold.
Yea, thou wilt shear them, Hildebrand.
But what of Henry?
That name! that name! I would that this same Henry
Were shut in hell! Of Europe’s many kings,
This Henry is the one I fear the most.
These dogs of Italy, hounds I hold in leash
To tear each other when they’d throttle me.
The Norman William hath his own affairs.
He is a heathen hound whom I would use
To keep my Christian sheep in quiet fold.
France hath her ills whereof I know full well,
But Henry! Henry is the name I hate!
His is the other name that stands for Rome.
My hope is this, if I can only put
This arrogant emperor underneath my foot,
As this same parchment, (hear it crunch and crack!)
So I’d crush him and make me emperor,
Then mine would be the single will of Europe.
This is my aim [Page 271].
Why dost thou pander then? He laughs at thee
And all thy legates, moves his licensed way
As though no Mother Church held holy sway
In his dominions, selleth bishoprics
And abbeys, and, making mock allegiance,
Laughs in his sleeve at thee, the Pope of Rome.
Let him laugh, his scorn will eat him yet.
The day will come when he will cease to laugh,
For I am Hildebrand, I bide my time.
I hold a physic that will purge his pride
Of all its riches.
Give him that physic quickly, Hildebrand.
Thou art not fierce enough. Use, use thy power
Ere it deserts thee. What be this power?
The Papal curse.
Yea, use it, Gregory, use it even now.
Wait, Peter, thou wilt see a picture yet,
Wilt hear a music that will like thine ears,
Thou wilt see Henry, monarch of half Europe,
The man who scoffs at monks, and uses men
As players would poor chessmen for his use
To play with, thou wilt see this man
Shorn of his greatness, blasted like some trunk
Out in a wasteland, suing with suppliant knee,
And begging his royalty from the carpenter’s son.
a Page, who kneels.
Your Holiness, ambassadors wait without with letters
(reads) To his Holiness, the Lord Pope of Rome,
William of Normandy sendeth greeting. Holy Father, thine
obedient son and ally, William, Prince of the Normans,
who is about invading England for the purpose of putting
the outlawed Saxon under the power of Holy Church, would
humbly beseech thy immediate public blessing on his
undertaking. This land be sworn by Harold in fief to
William, on the bones of holy saints.
WILLIAM [Page 272].
he thus to the successor of Peter?
Ally, ally to me, Gregory!
Immediate! poor suppliant truly this!
Ah, Europe, Europe, thou art hard to grind!
This rude wolf would make a bargain, aye,
’Tis little he doth care for Holy Church.
He’ll filch my England’s abbeys, waste her
To fill his Norman lusts. Yet he is strong.
I’ll use this wolf to bow the Saxon neck.
Send him thy curse.
Nay, Peter, he would laugh and throat it down
In Rhenish flagon. What cares he for Popes
But for his uses? I will send my curse
Some other day; to-day will go my blessing.
My curses I have need of for this Henry.
You come from Normandy.
Amb. Yea, my lord, we would pray your Holiness’
Then you have it.
My heart is ever with my Norman children.
Would that they loved war less and peace the more!
O Angel of Peace, when wilt thou compass Europe?
Tell William he is my well-beloved son,
High in my favour; take my blessing to him.
God's mercy goes to England when he goes,
And Holy Church’s curse on all his foes.
My lord, our thanks. We are blest indeed.
(to Page) Bring hither our most rare and costly
brings banner. HILDEBRAND takes banner.
all who fight beneath thee ever conquer,
And Heaven strike the foe that meeteth thee [Page
(gives the banner) Take this banner to our
William of Normandy, and say thus to him,—
That sending him this we make him William of England.
We will, your Holiness.
My blessing with you. By Him who maketh kings,
Go you propitious.
came in proud, they went out meek enough.
Give me but time and I will tame all wolves
From Alps to Apennines.
More ambassadors await without, your Holiness.
Germany, your Holiness.
HIL. Ha, ha!
now we meet another matter.
PET. Now thou
then I gave with smiles what I owned not;
Now here with sternness I would hold mine own.
There is no Pope while there’s an Emperor.
’Tis my chief creed. Give me the letter.
(reads) Ha, what be this? Refuses to retire
The German abbot he made without my leave,
Tells me that being king he holds in fief
All power of benefice. The hound the hound!
I’ll make him stoop. I’ll crush his pride
Yea, more; he says he’s coming soon to Rome
To take his crown of Empery at my hands,
Then craves my blessing, sent him with all speed,
“Your filial son.” A filial son, indeed!
A son of Hell, was fitter sonship. Peter,
This king makes me a devil.
him thy curse, thy ban; ’twere fitting answer
To such a message.
I will try him yet; not that last move
Till lesser fails. Call in the Cardinals [Page
file in, Ambassadors are brought in.
You come from his Majesty of Germany?
We do, your Holiness.
It grieves me much that our unfilial son
Should keep from Holy Church those ancient powers
Given to her of old and handed down,
Gifts to Peter.
What be these powers, your Holiness?
Powers of right, powers of gift, powers of office,
Powers to loose and bind, lift and lower, bless and
Hath she not yet those powers, my lord?
Nay, nay, and never shall, until she may
Enforce those powers, by other stronger powers.
Abbeys, bishoprics, priesthoods, whose are these?
Peter’s or Cæsar’s? Gregory’s
The king saith not, my lord.
Tell Henry, our undutiful son, so soon
As he doth show his fealty to the Church,
By rendering up to her those pristine gifts
Of benefice, and giveth to her hands,
What unto her belongs, so soon will she
Grant him her blessing. Tell him mighty Peter,
Christ’s Vicar and ambassador of God,
Speaketh by me, the seventh Gregory,
Calling unto him to do my will,
Or dread my curse.
Yea, my lord.
Tell him that He who makes and unmakes,
Lifts and lowers, thrones and dethrones,
Speaks by me.
Ambassadors, Cardinals and PETER.
The Countess of Canossa awaits without, my lord.
Show her within.
My gentle countess, saintly Beatrice [Page 275],
Welcome to my first royalty of Heaven.
Thou comest to me as cometh the evening star
After the heat and turmoil of the day,
Shedding the beauty of thy womanliness
On my rude cares. How fares Canossa?
O Hildebrand, I come to thee no star,
But rather, as a brook to some great river,
I flee me to the succor of thy presence.
Doth he so use thee, our one flower of women?
The brute! the beast! hath he maltreated thee?
Nay, not that yet, but leagues him, much I fear,
With that mad King of Germany.
Wait a little yet, we’ll heal that ulcer.
You know poor Bishop Goodrun: he is dead.
Nay, when died he? He was a goodly priest,
But scarce a zealous pastor. So he’s gone?
When I would come to thee to fill his place,
Canossa, with a loud and brutal laugh,
Says, nay, the Emperor must fill the chair,
And at his prayer the licentious Prince hath sent
One of his courtiers, some rude, worldly man,
To fill the benefice. He laughs at thee,
And puts thy new reforms to open scorn.
Wait, sweet Beatrice, water not thy face
And weaken not my heart with thy sad tears.
Canossa knoweth not he hath an enemy
More deadly than he fears, who is a devil.
Did I but let him loose and he would sweep
Earth and Italy clear of such Canossas.
O Beatrice, this is a world of woes,
And I, being many men, have many woes.
I climb so many hills my feet grow weary;
Now, I’m a king and fain would rule this earth,
Now am a saint and fain would purge its ills,
Now am a priest and fain would throttle its wills,
Again the man with all a man’s desire [Page
To feel and hate and love as other men.
O Beatrice, I would I were deep heaven
To wear so pure a star upon my breast.
When I see thee, this world with all its cares,
Its hard ambitions, hates and hellish battles,
Doth vanish past, like day at evening’s hour,
When only sweet thoughts stay. Must go so soon?
Yea, my lord, but I will come again.
Enter an Abbot and several Monks dragging an old
man with a long beard,
is accused of witchcraft. The Abbot and Monks fall on
old man stands.
(they all stand up, trembling) Who be this?
Most Holy Pope, Vicar of Christ, Lord of the Church,
Keeper of the Keys—
Nay. Make thy speech brief!
Most Holy—that is to say, we are accursed!
Even so. Ye look it. Proceed!
Yea! yea! um! um!
Yea, Most Holy, we be much accursed by reason of yon
old man takes out some tablets and, seating himself
proceeds to calculate.
Say on, sirrah! Accursed? hast lost thy tongue? (Abbot
and Monks all groan) Speak on, or means shall be
found to make thee!
Nay, nay, Most Holy! He be cursing us now wi’
his deviltries. I may not mention his name because of
the blight. Wilt thou not bless me so that I may proceed
(makes the sign of the cross) Yea, ’tis
done. Proceed [Page 277].
(growing bolder) Yon cursed dog of a sorcerer
hath bewitched us all.
Yea, yea, Most Holy.
He hath then but little to do.
Nay, Most Holy, he hath done much.
(to Wizard) Stand up!
Wizard remains sitting, gazes at HILDEBRAND, then
returns to his calculations.
thou stand up? (to Monks) Make him!
and Monks. Nay, nay, he be making devil’s
wheels at us now; even now we be dead men.
old man finishes his calculation, then risesslowly and
Hast thou sent for me?
Who art thou?
I am the centre, Macro, acro, Magister, ha, ha, ha!
(to Abbot) What hath he done?
Oh, oh, Most Holy, everything.
Name his offence.
He hath lamed Brother Benedict, rheumed Brother Isaac,
physicked Brother Petrice, hath slain Brothers Wildert,
Gebert an’ Andrice, hath tied us all up by the
heels to the devil, an’ hath bewitched the whole
(to Wizard) Hast done this?
Hast done what? Mensa, mensae, mensae, ha, ha, ha! [Sits
down and proceeds to make angles and circles.
He be ever like this, Most Holy, as thou seest.
Will he not understand? I would know his manner of thought.
It is by reason of his magic and his great age, Most
How old be he?
Some say one thousand, some five hundred, but the most
three hundred and fifty years, Most Holy.
Nay! How do you converse with him [Page 278]?
We hang him by the thumbs till he answer, that be one
(shakes his fist at Abbot) Macro, acro, sacro,
ha, ha, ha!
This man be mad.
Yea, all mad, mad, prayers, fasts, prayers, saints,
tinkle, tinkle, all mad, yea, they are all mad, acro,
macro, I am the centre, hear me!
Didst thou bewitch these?
at Abbot and Monks.
Ha, ha! All swine, all swine!
Dost thou hear me?
Ha, ha! three fat, three lean, one ascragged, antimonium
a portion, nutgalls two portions, soak till midnight
and go to couch with much fasting. Wouldst thou more?
Thou seest, Most Holy, he hath a devil. This same did
slay three of our brothers with his devil’s antimonium
of some such potion.
They did desire to be fat. I did but potion them. ’Twere
not my fault that they died of overfeeding.
Antimonium? Where didst thou get thy use for such a
By watching of the swine at their feeding. Some of this
did by chance get mixed with their provender, and those
that did eat of it grew quickly corpulent, and I—thought
’Twould suit the monks?
Yea, but they overfed—
But these others—they accuse thee of their disorders.
(to Monks) Feed less, drink less, toil more,
sleep less. Go not with the women, an’ your curse
will leave you, ha, ha!
Nay, he hath a devil. We be Church’s men [Page
HIL. Ye look
it. What else doth he?
He maketh magic. He hath a devil’s wheel, and
he hath blasphemed, saying he knoweth how many times
the spoke of a wheel goeth to make the rim, thus meddling
with matters abhorred. More, he saith the world be a
ball, an’ floateth on nothing, the which we know
to be a foul lie, seeing the Fathers have taught it
be flat and standing on the foundations with hell beneath.
Wizard) Be this true?
Yea, I am Magister, know all, cure all.
thou cure disease?
What wouldst thou have? Hast thou a flux, a frenzy,
an evil eye, a gnawing of the tooth, a rheum, a discord,
a gravel, a dysentery, a dropsy, a nightmare, an’
I can cure thee? The heart of a hen, the eye of a dragon,
the tooth of a snake, the nose of a beetle caught ’twixt
dusk and sunrise, all be a preventative against mala,
medicanta. Yea, for all frenzies, camel’s brain
an’ gall, rennet of seal, spittle of crocodile,
an’ blood of turtle, taken with much prayer, be
of a verity, man, thou art much accursed with knowledge.
Ha, ha! Wouldst try me?
I be well. And thou sayest this earth be a sphere?
Yea, ’tis truth. See here.
HIL. And it
floateth on nothing?
Yea, yea, wouldst thou not learn? Wouldst thou not listen?
Thou seest he hath a devil. He honoreth not even thee,
(to HILDEBRAND) Wilt thou not to listen? Art
thou also as these fools? An age of fools! An age of
fools! Macro, acro, I am the centre [Page 280].
to calculating anew.
Peace, peace, sirrah! I would hear thee again on this
strange matter. Thou shalt stay here. (to the Abbot
and Monks) And ye, back to your monastery, and do as
he saith, feed less, drink less, toil more, sleep less,
and go not with the women, and I will remove your curse.
Monks. (bowing out) O Holy Father, we
be much accursed!
(shakes his fist at them) Acro, macro.
flee in great terror.
More woes, more woes, more woes, another woman!
A strange woman would see your Holiness.
CATHERINE, wrapt in a cloak. She advances and throws
the cloak off.
Yea, my lord. Thy former loving wife!
at his feet.
O Holy Father, by all the love that once
United our two hearts, I plead with thee,
Have mercy on the daughter of thy love.
My daughter! nay, woman, not so, not so!
I have sought thee out these many years,
Did track thee to thy monastery, then here.
Oh, save thy daughter, mighty Hildebrand!
and covers himself with his cloak) O woman, woman,
I know thee not.
I know not wife save only Holy Church.
away! cursed woman, away!
Presume not on Christ’s Vicar, the great Pope,
The father on his people and the world [Page
CATH. O me!
accursed me! I come not here
To curse thee, nor to bless, nor yet presume
To dare pollute thy state by name of husband—
’Tis only but a common, human word
Belonging to the poor ones of this world—
But to beseech the Holy Pope of Rome
To cover with corner of his mercy’s mantle
The daughter of his loins.
HIL. O Peter,
Peter, take this woman away!
woman! Thou art sacrilegious.
Nay, spurn me not; she is my only daughter,
I pray thee help her. ’Tis a little thing
For thee, who hath so much of worldly power,
To lift thy hand and by a single word
Restore her happiness.
HIL. O woman,
woman, what is it thou wouldst thou ask?
is our daughter, awful Hildebrand,
Married short time unto that goodly priest,
Gerbhert, of St. Amercia, at Milan.
HIL. O God!
CATH. He is
a holy clerk, well bred in orders,
Of good repute among his loving people
Who look up to him as their father in God,
Dwelling among them as the beckoning hand
Leading to heaven.
O God! O merciful God!
They have a little babe, a sweet, wee mite
Just come from Heaven.
Hence, scorpion! know ye not this is the Holy Father?
Remove this curse those terrible monks have placed
Upon his priesthood.
O woman, I cannot! I cannot!
By all our former love! They cannot part!
He holds her as the apple of his eye [Page 282];
She sees in him the man that God hath given.
Remove this awful curse.
Woman, thou speakest to a columned stone.
I am a marble. If I have a heart,
Thou’lt hear it beating, rock within this rock.
Thou art a sea that beatest my sides in vain.
Do I hear thee aright? Art adamant
Unto this piteous pleading of my heart?
Thou sendest thine only daughter, our sweet child,
Out into defenceless misery, breakest her heart.
Unnatural, unnatural, unnatural!
It seems but yesternight they said good-bye,
And now she sits and rocks her child and saith
Over and over again its father’s name.
Go, woman! he is dead to thee and thine.
Hast thou no pity? Hast thou not one sigh
For this thy work?
stands silently with his back to her, his cloak
no pity? By all our past, one word,
One parting word!
Thou speakest to a stone. Go!
O Agony, O Misery, Blackness, Hell,
There’s no hope now!
out wringing her hands.
ACT II. SCENE 2.
German Court, a room in the castle.
the Queen and an Attendant.
This way, your Majesty.
You speak me majesty. I am no Queen,
The lowest woman in this mighty realm [Page
Reigning in some humble herdsman’s heart,
Might top my queenship now. O Henry, Henry,
What is there in my face, my form, my spirit,
That you should scorn me? Hath my essence changed
Since by the holy altar facing Heaven
We plighted wedding troth; to less and less,
That you should hate me?
BISHOP OF BAMBURG.
My Lord Bishop!
her) Nay, humble not thy lonely majesty,
Thy stately womanliness, most noble Margaret,
By such poor acts.
O Bamburg, be my angel, my good guide,
Leading me by roads to Henry’s favor.
Bring back his heart to its one-time allegiance,
And make earth’s springtime laugh for me once
in all my bishopric hath grieved me
Like this strange act of Henry’s. I have spoke
Happily in all save only this.
Patience, my lady, patience, look to Heaven.
Perchance some day he’ll know thy noble heart.
O, Bamburg, as the Queen of this great realm,
More sacred, as the mother of his child,
I beg you get me audience. Did I plead,
His heart might soften.
thy wishes are to me commands.
I fear me much the issue in his mood;
But be my head the penalty, I will bring
You to him [Page 284].
ACT II. SCENE 3.
audience room in the castle.
Attendant. Enter HENRY in haste, with
GILBERT, a Lord.
Now, by my crown, I’ll harry those villains out.
(to the Page) Quick, wine! (to GILBERT)
You say this news be true.
This Saxon Rodulph would pluck Henry down,
And wear his Empery. Ha, this likes me well!
said, your Majesty, the Saxon towns
Have all revolted.
HEN. And Rodulph
have you heard the latest news?
The North’s revolted. Rodulph heads the Saxons
To conquer Germany and take my crown,
And on it all, this bold, insulting letter
Reads me a lesson from His Holiness,
Yon arrogant priest, the scheming Pope of Rome.
as your father’s oldest friend,
As your most faithful subject, I would plead,
Be not o’er-hasty in this sudden business.
I am sick of being a child.
You drive me mad by your pacific measures.
While you are dallying they will ride me down
With squadrons and with curses. Nay, no more!
I’ll ride me north and show mine enemies,
I’ll bring yon Rodulph’s head upon a pike-pole.
of this Roman message?
in the messengers.
a Cardinal and a Roman Bishop.
Go you to Rome?
Yea, your Majesty [Page 285].
HEN. Go, tell
your master, if he be the Pope,
That I am Emperor, who can lift him down.
Tell him, in spiritual matters, Henry bows
To his opinion; in matters temporal, never!
This is my answer. Now, safe speed you Romewards.
Your Majesty before you go will see
But one more suppliant.
Nay, Bamburg, nay, not now, I’m hurried.
BAM. By my
love, I beseech you!
HEN. Is it
so urgent? Well, be hasty, Bamburg.
My troops await me, and my sword-arm aches
To hack yon Rodulph.
Who be this?
BAM. One who
deserves your patience and your love,
If you love aught on earth, proud Henry.
Go you not forth to battle with your foes
Till you have made your spirit’s peace with her,
Your realm’s Queen, the mother of your child.
Bamburg, you trifle with my kindness.
This goes too far, know you that I am King!
One word and I will hale you to a dungeon
For this insult.
Henry, my lord, one word before you go:
What have I done to gather all this hate?
Majesty may sever my poor body,
Mend you your love. Kill me, Henry, but
Murder not by scorn the noblest love
That soul hath nourished. By these wintry hairs,
Though thou dost slay me, I will tell thee true,
By this one act thou dost unking thyself.
HEN. No more,
by heaven, no more! I know her not.
When will my subjects treat me less the child?
I am no ward now, and I ever hated
This foolish, enforced marriage. Let her Majesty [Page
Get to some retirement. She demeans
Herself by these forced meetings.
O Bamburg, I have lowered my queenliness
And cheapened my womanhood. I will no more.
Take me away.
ACT II. SCENE 4.
monastery near Milan. Night.
two monks, BRUN, a fat little monk, and
WAST, a tall, lean one, with an
How he doth take on, this new friar Gerbhert. I had
not thought a man would lose his appetite for any woman.
Ah, Brun, you gluttonous men know not of love. Such
dangerous passions are beyond thy ken. Lacking the attractive,
the magnetic, you descend to lower pleasures. Now, look
on me, a victim to woman’s fancy. Within these
walls I find a haven from woman’s importunities.
Verily, brother, thou must have slain hearts.
It was my daily sorrow, so many beauties sought me.
I could not walk the streets but I were pestered. It
did sorrow me much; I could not pity all the passions
I awoke, so fled me here, sacrificing my prospects,
my youth, my person, rather than light fires I could
not quench. (eyeing himself in a metal hand-mirror)
Alas, alas, Brun, my beauty falleth off sadly of late.
Yea, thou hast a haggard cast to thy looks. It wonders
me much where all thy provender goeth, it doth thee
so little service [Page 287].
Ah, Brun, Brun, so many broken hearts, so many tender
reminiscences. But thou canst not touch my feelings.
Yea, Brun, didst thou but know the former dignity, the
port, the carriage of my person; the flash, the majesty
of my eye; the symmetry, the moulding of my form, thou
wouldst but marvel at this ruin I am.
I doubt it not, old sucker, but let not thy former beauty
fret thy present comeliness out o’ countenance.
Nay, brother, I will so endeavour, but I am ever on
the tremble lest some one of those former victims, in
cruel desperation maddened, my find me here and seize
my person. Brun, wilt thou protect me in such extremity—wilt
Yea, that I will, thou wreck of former perfection. If
any misguided person of that unfortunate sex be so seized
by distraction as to make formidable attack upon thy
classic person, she doth so on her peril, I promise
thee, old much-afflicted, my hand upon it. Be the bottle
knocking is heard without.
What be that sound? ’Tis she, ’tis she,
at last! Oh, me! Oh, me! what will I do? (gets behind
BRUN) Brun! Brother! wilt thou protect me?
Confusion take thee, Wast! now be a man.
Yea, yea, I be a man, that be my sorrow. Ah, oh, what
sh—all I do? [Tries to hide himself in his
other Monks in great confusion.
What be that noise? what be th—at no—ise?
Monk. (peers through the wicket and starts
back in horror) ’Tis a—O blessed Peter,
’tis a woman!
What shall we do? O blessed Peter! what shall we do?
I am undone, undone! my fatal beauty assails me even
Wast, quit thy folly; go close to the gate and question
Not me, not me! not for all heaven’s riches [Page
Nay, nay, let her not in.
Let us pray, brothers, let us pray!
Then if ye will not, then I must, ere the Abbot comes.
(fleeing) Nay, nay, let her not in, a woman!
a woman! a woman!
fools! (all stop) Be it the devil at your heels,
ye flee so quickly?
A woman! a woman!
(to BRUN) Open the gate.
MARGARET, worn by illness and starvation.
Woman, what want you here?
I want my husband.
the back of the stage, in a dimly-lit cell, behind a
seen kneeling. He rises at sound of MARGARET’S
voice, a Monk
a crucifix before him and he sinks back.
Whom do you call by so profane a title within these
My husband, Gerbhert, vicar at Milan. Oh, let me see
him; our little one is dying. Where doth he linger aliened
from his home?
comes forward again, the Monk lifts the crucifix
back wringing his hands.
This is his home; he knows nor wife nor children.
You must go hence.
If I called out unto these barren walls,
And had they but a heart to hear my prayer
Beneath their stony hardness, they would open
To let me see him.
You must go forth, you blaspheme these pure precincts.
Woman, go [Page 289].
Nay, drive me not thus forth, O holy Abbot,
By all you love, revere and hope on earth,
Drive me not forth, tear down this hideous wall
That hides me from my husband, let him know.
’Tis only for a little, little while.
Did he but know our little one was ill
He’d hasten in the first impulse of sorrow;
At its slight cry he’d be all shook with pity,
And not it’s dying. Gerbhert! Gerbhert! come!
Where are you, Gerbhert?
You must go hence, or I will force you hence.
I have no soul to curse you, your own soul
Be its own hell for this unnaturalness. (going out)
I come, my fatherless one, to die with thee! To die
Margaret! (shakes the grating) Margaret!
Monk raises the crucifix, and GERBHERT follows
it slowly out.
ACT II. SCENE 5.
room in the Papal Palace.
Enter HILDEBRAND, wearing his purple robe
of state, and with him PETER
Enter a Page.
An ambassador waits without, your Holiness.
From whence? Germany?
Yea, my lord.
Ha, now, the tide went out, the tide comes in. ’Tis
but the spray to mine own thunders. Now we’ll
hear his answer to the Papal curse [Page 290].
Wilt thou receive a message from one accursed? He is
no king, no ruler any more. This is no embassy.
Perchance it may be prayer for pardon. Henry knoweth
by this the power of Hildebrand.
My lord, it be but a rude petitioner.
He tells no beads, nor maketh any prayers,
But rather stamps an’ mutters, raves an’
And sendeth Rome an’ all her cardinals
To hell twice every minute.
Hale him to prison, the loud, blaspheming hound.
The damp of some rock cell would bring him round
To proper reverence for thy holy office.
He may intend a murder on thy person;
Let him not in.
Nay, but I will. Like master, like his dog
I fain would see the issue of this cursing.
Yea, I would see this German foam at mouth.
Fear not, I’ll match him. Call the cardinals in.
Cardinals, who stand behind the Pope. Enter the Page,
followed by the
Ambassador, who remains standing.
Cardinals) On your lives keep peace whatever he
doth do! Leave him to me. (to the Ambassador)
Nay, I’ll not kneel to thee or other man
Till I have said my message.
Cardinal. Kneel, impious man, ’tis the Lord
Hale him out! German dog! blasphemer!
He hath insulted the Holy Father.
(draws) Come on, ye cowardly monks, I scorn
Were he a king, I’d bow my knee to him;
An emperor, an’ I might buss his hand;
But only Pope! why, popes have bribed me vain
To slay your betters [Page 291].
Silence: am I Pope indeed? Why blame this man,
When ye, obedient, insult me with your clamors?
(to the Ambassador) Hail you from Germany?
I do, proud priest; my name is Wolf of Bamburg,
Cradled in a nest that ne’er knew fear,
Bred of a breed that hath a joy of killing.
’Tis not a monk would make me tremble here.
My time is short, I would repeat my message.
What be thy message?
’Tis to thee, proud priest, an’ it doth
come from Henry.
Henry of Germany, whom in thine insolence,
Thou cursedst with thy foulest blasphemies,
Sendeth me, Wolf of Bamburg, unto thee,
To hurl thine arrogant curses in thy face,
And tell thee thou art no pope but a common priest,
Who stolest thy popedom.
Hale him out, tear him to pieces!
great clamor rises. The Cardinals would attack him.
Silence! on your lives! This man is mine! (to Ambassador)
He further saith to thee, thou bastard Pope,
As Emperor of Rome, come down, come down!
And leave that chair thou foully hast usurped,
And I, his servant, say to thee, come down!
Cardinals. Devil! German dog! Tear him to pieces!
off his robe and throws it over the Ambassador)
Back! or fear my curse! Who strikes at that
Nay, this is a devil [Page 292]!
he Satan himself, beneath that robe he were
As sacred as God's holiest angel!
(to Ambassador) Go, man, and tell thy master,
who is no king,
That Gregory hath one single word for him,
And that is pity. Let him ask his God
To pardon him as I do pardon him.
I lay no curse upon the innocent.
When he comes penitent to me in tears
I will receive him. Go!
(to Cardinals) Have ye no reverence for Gregory
Ye should revile revilings in this house?
God's ministers should ever be men of peace,
And not a maddened rabble. As our Lord,
In that last season of His great martyrdom,
Bade holy Peter sheathe the angry sword,
So I rebuke ye. Had he slain me here,
You’d not have touched him!
sometimes it thinketh me
Thou hast a magic; thou art the strangest Pope
Yet seen in Rome. That man, who came blaspheming,
Went out your slave.
HIL. Ah, Peter,
know, we must meet fools with guile.
’Tis better to be subtle than be strong.
I sometimes dream the greatest innocence
Is but the mantle to the deepest guile,
And men but stab the deeper when they smile [Page
ACT III. SCENE I.
What is a king’s weak royalty to this Power
That lifts the crowns from kings and plucks them down
From earth-built majesties? I yesterday,
Who wore a crown and called me Emperor
To these dominions, held a people’s fear,
To bind or loose betwixt my hollow hands,
Made and unmade, held life and death in fee,
Made dukedoms tremble at my royal coming,
And at my beck squadroned the earth with armies,
Am at his word a lonely, outcast man,
A stranger to the lordships of command,
Holding less power than doth my meanest subject.
Then did all eyes but follow at my glance,
All hands lift to the twitching of my thumb.
Did I but hate, a thousand scabbards clanged
To do me vengeance. Had I a single longing,
A myriad hearts trembled to beat my bidding.
But now I am so mean, earth’s very slaves
Might pass me by, nor think to do me reverence.
What is this one man’s Power, this mighty Will,
That lifts its hand, saith suddenly yea or nay,
And peoples forget their duty to their lords,
And nobles forfeit reverence for their kings,
And all of royalty’s golden splendor is wrecked
And shattered like a rainbow in a storm!
O Gregory, O Gregory, thou awful man,
Didst thou but speak I might become a clod,
Or weed, or senseless turf beneath thy feet [Page
the BISHOP OF BAMBURG and a Noble.
and strip me, let my very life
But follow my royalty.
O my poor liege!
Yea, they have left him lone enough, indeed.
Damn this Pope’s cursing!
HEN. Why call
me liege? The King hath gone, my lord.
He went out yesterday when Gregory’s curse
Filled all this precinct. I am only Henry,
A leprous, palsied, outcast, damnèd man.
Where are my servants? Have they fled me too?
have, my liege!
thou mighty monster, what art thou?
Thou art not God, for God at least is kind.
Thou art not nature, its workings are too slow
For such a sudden miracle. Why dost thou not
Take even my sight and hearing? It ’mazes me
Those be not fled. Yea, even my taste and smell,
What blasphemous ministers these that do my bidding
Against thy mighty word. Take all, take all,
And let me die.
lose not your courage. Even yet,
A few of us, for love of Heaven and thee,
Defy this haughty prelate. Shake at Rome
Defiance of her curses. Though a million curs,
With tail ’twixt legs flee at a bit of writing,
Forget that they are men because one man,
Who thinks him God, would shake with his poor thunders
The cowards of Europe; know that there be yet
A few hearts left thee. Gregory takes thy crown;
He hath not got thy manhood, that obeys
The laws of thine own nature. Show this priest,
This blasphemous usurper of our humanities,
That he may strip the moss but leave the tree
Of all thy kingship standing.
Yea, my liege, some swords be left thee yet.
HEN. And ye
still own me? Fear ye not this curse [Page 295],
That blacks the world, the very earth I stand on;
Unkings me all, annuls my fatherhood,
Blasts all mine organs, refts me from my kind.
The very heaven must shut from me its light,
The stars no more look kindly, Night no more
Give me her holy balm, sweet, blessed sleep.
No friend, nor child, nor wife, this drives me out
Beyond the human? Say ye even yet
That ye do own me? This doth much amaze me!
BAM. We love
thee yet, and own thy majesty,
And kneel to thy allegiance.
HEN. If this
were real, Henry’s heart could weep
With human gladness, but ’tis merely fancy.
You’d shrivel up like podshells were you men.
The very ground I stand on is accursèd.
No more may flowers therefrom, but only thorns
And noisome weeds proceed. Away! away!
Ere ye be cursèd.
BAM. He seemeth
This curse doth lie full heavy, of a truth.
Damn that Pope! If I but get to Rome
There’ll be two Popes. I’ll slice him i’
Yea, I’ll create a fleshly schism ’twill
These foul, lewd priests to reckon.
BAM. My lord,
great Henry, hearken to thy friend.
’Tis Bamburg, he who loved thee as a child.
Dost know me?
HEN. It seemeth
I know thee, Bamburg, or ought to know,
Did not this haze of hell o’erweight me down.
I thought thee fled. Why dost thou stand with me?
Knowest thou not that I am one accursed?
nature no pity?
it the Queen alone who fled, I’d bear it.
I never treated her as she deserved.
She was too kind; I used her brutal, Bamburg,
I used her brutal, she who was so kind [Page
Her voice was soft, but this my heart forgot
In that forced marriage. Had she fled alone
I had not minded, but the ones I loved,
The men I made and builded, raised them up,
Who drank my cup, took honors from my hand,
And made the heavens ring with their acclaims
Were I victorious: that all these should melt
Like some magician’s smoke at Gregory’s
’Tis monstrous; yea, so monstrous, that meseems
The heavens be turned to iron, and yon cold sun
Be but a tearless socket turned upon me;
And Pity and Mercy, all those kindly ministers,
Fled from the universe where Henry stands.
Yea, Bamburg, had the mighty Lord of all
Such power of unrelenting as this Gregory,
The very fountains of nature would dry up,
The kindly elements refuse their office,
And morn and even, noon and cooling night,
With blessed dews and sunlight, cease to be;
Till earth would stand one shrivelled chaos under
The pitiless heaven that looks on Henry now.
the Queen that we be come about, my liege;
’Tis she hath sent us.
HEN. To mock
my sorrow with false courtesies,
To note my shame and carry to her ears
My misery. O iron ones, have ye
No mercy left?
nay, my liege, curse not, but hearken me.
The noble woman we call Germany’s Queen
Sendeth unto Henry greeting thus:
Though thou hast not an army thou hast love;
Though thou hast not a subject, yet a king
To her alone, her king of kingly men;
Though thou art cursed she still will keep to thee.
HEN. Oh, this
is worse than cursing. Can kind Heaven
Hold such a blessing for a wretch like Henry?
BAM. It can
and doth. Her Majesty waits without.
HEN. O Bamburg,
I cannot see her; her true love [Page 297]
Would so shame all my falseness, all mine ill,
It seems her love would slay me.
Enter the Queen.
HEN. My Queen!
Gregory, O Gregory, where is thy curse?
This is our child, look up, look up, my liege;
Thy subjects may desert thee, Heaven doth not.
Gregory, O Gregory, where is thy curse?
It seemed so heavy an hour ago that earth
And very heaven were weighted with its murk,
Yet now it lightens. I am a man again!
ACT III. SCENE 2.
outer curtain.) A yard outside the castle at
two Monks telling their beads.
M. By’r Lady, ’twas a rare sight, a
rare sight! ’twas never known afore, nor ever
be again in Europe.
He comes again this morn; ’tis three days since
He’s stood i’ the courtyard suing Gregory’s
The king of Europe! This be the Church’s hope.
May every season send us such a Pope.
I must within ere Brother John doth make
A fast which little fits my hunger’s constant
’Twixt heady wine an’ table well provide’,
’Tis a faring world till coming Eastertide.
S. This Gregory hath given us such a sight [Page
As makes all Germany ashamèd for.
I’ll nevermore hold jealousy of kings.
Better to bed upon old soaken straw
An’ be a targe for pikepoles than a king.
He looked as though the whole world shot its darts
On his bare forehead,
Yea, an’ his poor Queen, didst see her sue
Upon her knees to gain her lord’s admission.
May such a sight ne’er greet mine eyes again.
See, now they come. It shames my soldierhood
To see a king ensuffer such dishonor.
He is no Pope would hold so black a malice,
To pluck from hell. Let’s out.
HENRY, attired in rude clothes, bare-headed and
barefooted, with a wisp
straw about his waist, and with him the Queen in black.
This way, my lord; perchance his stony heart,
So beat upon by storming of our tears,
May soften its adamant.
for Germany and thee I do this penance,
And for our sweet boy’s kingship; I myself
Am all so calloused o’er by utter spite
Of too much curses showered by popes and fate,
It cares me little. Let the world go wrack,
The elements mingle in a loud confusion,
The maddened seas batten the ruined lands,
The forests shed their knotted limbs, the year
Be now all mad November. I am but
A wasted trunk whereon no brutish fate
Can wreck its malice. I am so annulled
Were all the devils of hell incarnate popes
Thundering anathemas on my stricken head
’Twould not appal me. I am come to this.
Thou wilt meet him fairly, thou wilt think
Not on thy woes, but on thy dear son’s hopes [Page
Fear not, Margaret, meeting such a devil,
Who thinketh him a God, but I’ll dissemble.
I’m not the olden Henry that I was.
Mine inward pride will make mine outward meeker,
Subtilty with subtilty I’ll match
To wipe out this dishonor.
at the gate.
Who be ye?
of Germany, whose November storms
Have stript his summer’s royalty.
What would you within, Henry of Germany?
thou not, O man, I am a King,
Though crownless in these bleak, inclement times,
And this my sorrowful Queen. Wouldst thou not
Do her meet reverence?
We know no king but the Holy Pope of Rome.
HEN. I seek
his presence. These three pitiless days,
All unavailing I have battered here,
Humbling my royalty to his stern commands.
Were these gates less stony they would open.
O warder, mercy! Pray the mighty Pope,
A moment’s audience. I am a stricken woman,
And this my husband, who, once called a King,
Now doffs his kingship, garbed in penitence.
Hath he no pity?
His Holiness hath harkened to your suit,
And, be thou penitent, would pardon thee.
These be my orders; pass you now within.
Now, blessed be Heaven! Henry, sink thy wrongs
In thy son’s future.
my wrongs? They have sunk so low
That lower I cannot. Heaven but grant me space
Till I avenge me [Page 300].
inner curtain.) A chapel in the castle.
HILDEBRAND attended by Cardinals. Enter
BEATRICE and her train.
HENRY and the Queen as before. The Queen kneels.
(to HENRY) Kneel! kneel! or all is lost.
Kneel, proud man, to Heaven.
Yea, I will kneel to Heaven (kneels), (aside)
but not to thee.
Henry of Germany, usurper, know that thus
Doth Heaven chasten Holy Church’s foes,
Not in hate or malice, but in love,
That showing earth more perilous, heaven be safe,
Because of thy disloyalty to the Church,
Usurping those her ancient, holy rights,
Not holding thy kingship as given from her hand,
Hath angry Heaven stripped thee of thy crown,
Thy people and thy sceptre, rendering thee
The scornèd of the meanest outcast wretch
That hugs his rags in human wretchedness,
Abhorr’d and despised of those who once
Courted thy favour. Take this cruel lesson
Home to the prideful chambers of thy heart,
And know kings henceforth but as mortal men,
Their power ephemera of a summer day,
Be they not fief to Heaven. Be thy penitence
Sincere in this dread, humble hour of thine
Thou wilt become the vassal of high Heaven,
Mending thy future from thy sinful past.
Great God! am I a king? What is a king?
Is he a dog to dare be spoken thus?
(aside) Henry, for the love of Germany,
Me, and thy child, keep but thy patience now.
(to HILDEBRAND) O, Holy Father, curb thine
Remove this curse that weighteth Henry down,
Makes him a fearful leper to his kind [Page
Restore his people’s favor, thou hast the power,
And thou wilt do it.
Madam, thou true daughter of the Church,
Hath this man used thee well that thou shouldst sue
For him our favor? Hath he not been false
To thee, to Germany and Holy Church?
Thou art a woman, use a woman’s art,
Break his presumption, soften his rude heart,
And we will soften ours. Meantime, to thee, (to
I would despatch my duty as high Pope
O’er my poor people, in this woeful world.
Know you, Henry of Germany, once a king,
But now a suppliant outcast at my feet,
Abandoned, abhorred of all true Christian men,
The scorn alike of lowly and of high,
Know you I would be merciful a little.
For this cause I will now come down, come down,
As you through yours once blasphemously demanded,
From out my holy chair of sainted Peter,
And be like you, a single, naked man,
Leaving my cause with yours to mighty Heaven.
O noble soul! O noble, princely heart!
Abbot. Base prince, base prince, ’tis more
than thou deservest.
Know, therefore, now, in presence of these men,
Members immaculate of Holy Church,
That thou, through thy base agents and by mouth,
Didst charge me, Gregory, Prince of God on earth,
And Vicar of the mighty risen Christ,
With crimes unworthy of my holy state,
Heinous and awful, so hideous in their sound
That they were better nameless, the tongue would fail
To use its office, giving them to the air.
Know, furthermore, that I in my high office,
Have placed thee under ban of Holy Church,
Shut out, abhorred and excommunicate,
Because of sins committed at thy hand [Page
Abhorrent and accursed in their nature,
Of which, God knows, I have the truest witness.
to an altar and, taking a consecrated wafer, returns
with it in his hand.
Henry of Germany, men may lie,
And even Popes be sinful, flesh is frail;
But Heaven at last will judge betwixt us two.
[Raising the wafer. The Cardinals all draw back
I be liar in the smallest part,
Deceitful or malicious in that judgement
Wherewith I have judged thee, heaping crimes
Unspeakable, abhorrent on thy head,
May listening Heaven, which is only just,
Strike me, impious, with its awful thunders
While I eat this.
the wafer in two and eats half. A cry of wonder comes
There ensues a pause of a few seconds, then he holds
broken wafer to HENRY.
of Germany, wilt thou do the same?
(starts back in confusion and horror) Nay,
nay, ’tis impious! ’tis impious!
What influence be this I fight against?
This devil doth ever place me in the wrong.
Henry of Germany, wilt thou perform the same
And leave thine innocence to the power of Heaven?
(stands boldly up and confronts HILDEBRAND)
Gregory, Prelate of Holy Rome,
Though to refuse thy gage be to acknowledge
His consciousness of human frailty,
Henry of Germany, whate’er his sins,
Hath too much sense of Heaven’s mighty justice
To desecrate the eternal bending Ear
By such blasphemings. I am no priest of God,
I am no Pope, august, infallible [Page 303],
But only a weak and fallible, sinning man,
As Heaven knoweth. But in this grave matter,
If thou be right and I be wholly wrong,
Heaven knoweth already without such dread presumption.
’Tis not for Church but men you judge this issue,
Hence, I demand a larger audience,
Tribunal more public than these witnesses,
Impartial, unprejudiced toward my wrongs,
So be I judged, it be not in a corner.
Meanwhile, if I have erred, in my new kingship
In word or deed against thy holy office,
Here as a faithful son of Holy Church,
By that great love I bear for Germany,
By that dread duty I owe my wife and child,
I crave thy pardon and beseech thy blessing.
Henry of Germany, thou standest now
Rebuked of Heaven before the eyes of men.
As I had power to place thee under ban,
Alienate from Holy Church and men,
So I withdraw that ban from off thee now.
Arise, my son, in thy new penitence,
The Church commands thee, rise and go in peace.
stands. The Pope and the Cardinals pass out.
’Tis off! ’tis off! I am a man once more.
Out! out! let us without! I cannot breathe
In these dread walls!
ACT III. SCENE 3.
furnished room. MARGARET seated by a meagre
fire, nursing her
O Gerbhert! Gerbhert! in what living stone
Are you entombed, dead to our sorrow now [Page
Ah, my poor baby, fatherless, fatherless now!
Dying! dying! Like a pallid candle,
I watch your little spark to less and less
Go slowly deathwards. Hark! I hear a step!
Hush your moans, my babe. Was it your cry?
Or but the wind, the icy, winter wind,
The cruel midnight, eating with icy tooth
The hearts of mortals?
Margaret, I have come!
so have Misery, Despair and Death,
Your kindlier brothers. Hunger may be gaunt,
But he is honest. Death be terrible,
But he hath mercy on the pinchèd cheek
And cruel, tortured heart; but who art thou?
Knowest me not, Margaret?
I know the Pope, who is a monster stone
That all the world like some poor, maddened sea,
Might beat against and break and break in vain;
I know earth’s misery, its inhuman silence,
Where gaunt and shadowy eyes glare round and watch
The slow, brute process nearer, day by day,
Of hunger gnawing at the walls of life;
But thee I know not, thou art far too dread
For my poor knowledge. When I see thy face
This earth doth seem a hell and God a devil.
Margaret, forswear this maddened mood.
Catherine, your mother, killed herself
By her own folly, hoping against hope.
Bethink you of your child. You murder it
In killing my poor hopes. Give me thy love,
And life to thy sweet babe. Be not so cruel.
You forced me to this; I would not have stirred
One finger to molest you or your child,
Had you not by your beauty raised in me
A longing for to own you, call you mine.
Gerbhert never loved as I have loved [Page 305];
It eats me like a wasting all these years.
Had I been Gerbhert, master of your love,
And this my child, I would have fought the world
Ere I’d have left you, dared both Hell and Heaven,
Rather than let one furrow groove your cheek,
One sorrow rack your soul. O Margaret, Margaret,
Say but the word, that I may save thy child.
Give me the right to fan that poor flame back,
And thine old beauty to its former glow.
Blackness! blackness! I grope! I grope! I grope!
Forgive me, Heaven, forgive me! There is no Heaven!
There is no God! The universe one cave,
Where I, a blinded bat, do beat my wings
In wounded darkness. O my child, my child!
Some one must save thee!
I am the only answer to thy prayer;
If there’s a God, He speaks to thee through me.
Margaret, Margaret, thou wilt come with me.
What shall I do? Is there no other voice?
Yea, thou wilt come. Thou wilt forget all this
In future happiness. Come, my Margaret!
rises to her feet as if to go with him, then stops.
nay, I am thine answer; God saith yea to this.
O God! O God! (to ARIALD) Thou hast thine answer
God sends thine answer now. My babe is dead!
heavily to the ground.
(stealing out) Beaten, beaten, beaten at the
I almost believe me, even evil me,
There is a God [Page 306]!
ACT III. SCENE 4.
troops marching. Fighting begins in the distance. Enter
O. This is the final chance for Germany.
Be Henry now defeated on this field
He loses empire; Rodulph holds the west.
O. Woe with poor Germany, her lands lie waste,
Her cities either sacked, or, armèd forts,
Withstand the common foe; her King outcast,
Battles for his rule with his own vassals.
HENRY with a few knights
This way, this way, the enemy press back.
One struggle now for Germany and my crown!
Enter WOLF of Bamburg, with the head of
Ha, ha! thou thing that wert a Pope’s retainer,
Roll there the nonce an’ mix thee with the dust,
Thou that dared a king’s prerogatives.
HEN. How now?
WOLF. I bring
thee, not thy crown, but rather the head
That would have worn it. Knowest the face?
so; his army be repulsed,
And Germany is thine to rule once more.
Good lords and generals, fellow-countrymen,
The enemy to all our peace is dead [Page 307],
His army routed and the battle ours.
The God of battles now hath smiled our way.
We will henceforth resume our royal sway.
See that our pardon be proclaimèd wide
To all who lay down arms or join our ranks.
Meantime we bury this defeated rebel,
And with him memory of this evil time,
Then hence to Rome to make our Empery strong.
Know henceforth, lords and generals, Henry stands
The champion of Europe’s civil rights,
The friend of liberty and trampled man.
Nor shall this sword be sheathed till Germany
And Italy, yea, all of Europe’s soil,
Be freed from sway of proud, pretentious priests,
And peace, humanity and freedom reign [Page
ACT IV. SCENE I.
fortress near Milan, where GREGORY is in exile.
MARGARET, crazed, with her dead babe in her arms.
They would have stopped me, but my love’s good
Did cheat them all. O my sweet, waxen babe,
The Holy Father, he will tell me true,
And make thee smile again, thou art not dead,
They lie who say thou’rt dead. Here cometh one
HILDEBRAND, much older looking, accompanied by
a holy face, he’ll speak for me
Unto the Pope to make thee smile again.
Peter, they may rail and rail at me,
Strip all my wealth and make them fifty Popes,
They will not shake me.
Gregory, ponder well thine answer.
Remember, if thou art the real Pope,
Thou art not in Rome.
I am, Rome is! They may drive
Me into farthest banishment, they but put
God's holiness from out their precincts. I am Rome!
what wantest thou here?
her not out, Peter. See, her reason,
Like me from my high Papacy, is exiled
From her poor body. I would speak with her.
Sorrow and defeat make men more kindly.
(to MARGARET) Daughter, wouldst thou speak
a word with me [Page 309]?
I would see the Pope, but his attendants
Would drive me out, an’ my sweet baby here.
They say he’s dead and he will smile no more.
’Tis but because that terrible Pope had laid
His curse on us my babe will never smile.
girl, thy child is dead.
nay, ’tis only this dread, awful curse.
You are a kind old man, you’ll go with me,
And plead with me unto that terrible Pope,
And make him take this curse from off our lives,
And make my baby smile.
What curse, my daughter?
me but to him, I will tell it all,
But here my mind forsakes me. Someone said
I was his daughter, but they must have lied.
God would not make a father so unkind
To curse his only daughter, kill her joy,
And make her baby like my baby here.
HIL. O God,
O God, it cannot, cannot be!
A mist seems growing up before mine eyes!
Peter, Peter, this is mine own daughter.
she is distract. These women ever
Do come betwixt us and our sight of heaven.
HIL. My daughter,
know thy father. I am the Pope.
nay, but thou art kindly, hast no heart
To lay a winter like is laid on me.
daughter, I am he, that awful man,
I am Pope Gregory.
if you be, take off this hideous curse,
Make my babe laugh and crow and stuff his hands
In rosy mouth, and speak his father’s name,
Then he will come. They say thou hast God's ear,
And He will do it.
HIL. O Peter,
Peter, this would break my heart
Were I but human.
her away. Thou canst do her no good.
The child is dead, and she hath lost her reason.
Much must be suffered here that good may come.
Send her away [Page 310].
Nay, Peter, I have worked full o’er enough
For Holy Church, this much God asked of me,
He did not make me butcher to my child.
Hildebrand in sorrow finds a heart.
Out, out, thou cruel man, for one short hour
Let me forget the Pope and be a father.
Holy Father, make my baby smile,
And God will thank thee by a mother’s heart.
Daughter, God will make thy baby smile,
When thou and I and others like us smile,
And we have put aside this earthly dross
That weights our spirits down, in His Great Judgement.
O Father, thou art kind, and thou wilt do it;
Thou hast all power, all Heaven-given strength,
To bless, to ban, to slay, to make alive:
Oh, bring my baby back to me again.
Daughter, I am but a weak, despised old man,
One poor enough in even this life’s powers
To make him jealous o’ yon sweet, sleeping babe
Whom the angel of death makes waxen in thine arms.
O Father, tell me not that he is dead!
Margaret, Margaret, this is not thy babe,
But some sweet marbled mould of what he was.
I know a bank where we will plant his blossom,
And water it anew with our poor tears.
Could I as easy bury my black griefs,
And all the storm-cloud passions of this life,
God knows, I’d make me sexton to them all.
Come, let us out.
PETER and a Bishop.
He hath gone out with some mad woman but now,
He gets more in his dotage day by day.
I cannot move him; thou canst try thy power [Page
If he would only come to terms with Henry,
And patch this foolish quarrel, the Church is safe,
And if not then—
He must be brought to make his abdication.
He’d die first ere he would do either.
Here he comes.
HILDEBRAND bearing the dead body of MARGARET.
the mad woman.
Come, help me lay her here. She was my daughter.
Is his Holiness mad, that he uttereth thus
Such scandal ’gainst the Church’s dignity?
Nay, rather found his reason for an hour,
Like other men through earth’s humanities.
Mine arrogance did dream I was above
Men’s humble sorrows. See my soul rebuked.
She bore it, Peter, till the first clod fell
Upon yon little blossom, then she shook,
And when it passed from sight her soul passed, too.
I fear me much we blunder out God's truths,
And mar His angels with our brutal laws,
And change His temple to a prison house.
She was a blossom, Peter, so like her mother.
I’ll bury her out there beside her babe,
And when the winds shake and the roses blow,
They’ll know each other as their angels know
Each other in heaven. Would I were sleeping too!
Dost know mine age, Peter? I am over sixty.
Your Holiness forgets. The bishop would speak with you.
Forgive me, bishop; aye, ’tis thou, Brunelli.
What is thy business?
Your Holiness must pardon my intrusion
On this o’er-sad occasion; important matters
Must be their own excuse. I will speak plainly [Page
One by one your party leaves you; soon
You will be desolate. Our only chance is now.
Ha! now? And now!
You must meet Henry.
Then, Peter, tell him, for I cannot.
The matter, Gregory, is in short, thou must
Plant Empery upon bold Henry’s head
Or lose thy tiara.
Never, as I am Pope, I will do neither!
Though I am wasted, agèd, worn and weak,
Deserted by false friends and hireling hounds,
I still am Gregory. Never hand but mine
Can dare uncrown me. Let him dread my curse
Who’d force me to it. Yea, that hand will shrivel
Ere it uncrowns me. People the world with Popes,
There’s but one Peter. Look on this my sorrow,
Embittering with its pangs mine olden age,
And know what I have done for Holy Church.
By that sweet face that lieth there in death,
A martyr, if ever was one, to God's great cause,
I bid you go and tell proud Henry, yea,
And all those false, foul prelates of the Church,
That Hildebrand who crushed out his own heart,
To keep the right, will die as he hath lived.
ACT IV. SCENE 2.
chapel close near the castle. The grave of MARGARET
and her child marked by a cross.
HILDEBRAND leaning on the arm of PETER.
Little did I dream that it was I
Would be the first to go. O Peter, Peter [Page
This world-ambition hath eaten up my heart,
And my life with it. Better to be there
Where she doth lie than to be God's Vicar.
Gregory, if you would only compromise,
And meet the wishes of the Cardinals,
And temper Henry, you might die in Rome.
never! better end me here,
Than give my life the lie. Do they their worst,
What I have lived for, I will die for, too.
Better the Church go crumble all to ruins,
And Europe be a field of ravening wolves,
Than compromise be purchased at such price,
And sell the Church’s right to impious hounds,
And make the temple of God a den of thieves.
Go, Peter, go; your heart is like the rest.
Go, leave me, I am but a poor old man,
Weak, palsied, leaning slowly to my tomb.
I need no friend, God will be merciful.
Though cold and rude earth’s loves, I can but
knowest, Gregory, I will never leave thee.
not be long, and then they’ll have their will.
O Europe! Europe! Peter, wilt thou see
That this place is kept sacred. Yon rose-tree
Kept watered, and yon twin-mound holy,
Till thou dost die?
PET. I will.
HIL. She was
my daughter, Peter, and like her mother,
And the poor babe, it looked so sweet in death,
Mine age went to it. O Damiani,
These women and children twine about our hearts.
thou go within?
I heard one hum an old-time tune.
Gregory, thou meanest a chant or hymn.
Peter, but a simple ballad tune,
That I loved long ago. Know thee, Peter,
All music is of God, and it be holy [Page 314].
be that noise? (rising) Who be those coming
thou wilt keep this place?
Hildebrand! Gregory! dost thou hear?
Many cardinals and bishops come this way.
Cardinals, Bishops and Lords.
suddenly and waving his hand imperiously)
Back! back! this ground be holy!
BRU. We be
come, my lord—
back! or fear my curse. Sully not
These silent, dreamless ears with impious words
Of earth’s ambitions, Church’s greed and
Desecrate not this peace with life’s mad riot.
’Tis dedicate to memories alone
Of youth and innocence.
fall back; he goes forward.
What be your will?
BRU. May it
please your Holiness, we come from Rome.
HIL. I am
Rome! And when these old walls crumble,
Rome hath fallen, till another be built.
’Twill not be long.
lord cardinals, that the Holy Father
Is indisposed. Complete your business.
not ill, but rather worn of life
And its vexatious evils, foolish toils.
Aye, lord cardinals, weigh you my curse so heavy,
That ye have came so far to crave my blessing?
BRU. We come,
my lord, to heal this cruel schism
That rendeth Holy Church and maketh mock
Of Peter’s chair throughout all Christendom.
Henry of Germany—
or I’ll forget the Church’s good,
And curse her Cardinal. Name me not that monster,
Save in anathema. Look on me, Brunelli [Page
And these poor hands wherein life’s blood runs
So that they scarce can lift in Church’s blessing;
Look on my face and see Death written there,
In plainest charactry. Yet know, proud cardinals,
I still am Peter till my latest breath.
staggers. PETER catches him in his arms.
Great God! he dies! Help! help! lord cardinals, help!
The greatest soul in Europe passeth now.
(staggers to his feet) I am going, Damiani.
Heard you sounds
Of rustling pinions? Did you know a presence
That darkened all the horizon with its wings?
Nay, I can stand alone. Unhand me, Peter!
Lord cardinals and prelates, to your knees!
Take you my blessing, ’tis my latest hour!
All ye who have been true to Holy Church,
Take my last blessing. All who have been false,
Take ye my—Catherine! Catherine! Oh my God!