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For any people, if a heart like his

Ruled over it. I would I saw the trap!

"Tis he must show me.



So the mask falls off

An old man's foolish love at last! Spare thanks-
I know you, and Polyxena I know.

Here's Charles-I am his guest now

-does he bid me

Be seated? And my light-haired, blue-eyed child
Must not forget the old man far


At Chambery, who dozes while she reigns.

Pol. Most grateful shall we now be, talking least Of gratitude-indeed of anything

That hinders what yourself must have to say

To Charles.



Pray speak, Sire !

'Faith, not much to say—

Only what shows itself, once in the point

Of sight. You are now the King: you'll comprehend Much you may oft have wondered at the shifts,

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Dissimulation, wiliness I showed.

For what's our post? Here's Savoy and here's Pied


Here's Montferrata breadth here, a space there—

To o'er-sweep all these, what's one weapon worth?
I often think of how they fought in Greece

(Or Rome, which was it? You're the scholar, Charles !) You made a front-thrust? But if your shield, too,

Were not adroitly planted-some shrewd knave

Reached you behind; and, him foiled, straight if thong And handle of that shield were not cast loose,

And you enabled to outstrip the wind,

Fresh foes assailed you, either side; 'scape these,
And reach your place of refuge-e'en then, odds
If the gate opened unless breath enough
Was left in you to make its lord a speech.
Oh, you will see!


No straight on shall I go,

Truth helping; win with it or die with it.

Vic. 'Faith, Charles, you're not made Europe's fighting-man!

shall hold

Its barrier-guarder, if you please. You hold,
Not take-consolidate, with envious French
This side, with Austrians that, these territories
I held―ay, and will hold ... which you
Despite the couple! But I've surely earned
Exemption from these weary politics,
-The privilege to prattle with my son
And daughter here, tho' Europe waits the while.
Pol. Nay, Sire, at Chambery, away for ever,
As soon you'll be, 'tis a farewell we bid you !
Turn these few fleeting moments to account!
"Tis just as though it were a death.



Ay, call this parting—death!

Pol. [Aside.] Is the trap there?

The sacreder your memory becomes.

If I misrule Sardinia, how bring back

My father? No-that thought shall ever urge me.

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Pol. [who watches VICTOR narrowly this while.]
Your father does not mean

That you are ruling for your father's sake:

It is your people must concern you wholly
Instead of him. You meant this, Sire? (He drops
My hand!)


That People is now part of me.

Vic. About the People! I took certain measures
Some short time since. . Oh, I'm aware you know
But little of my measures-these affect

The nobles-we've resumed some grants, imposed
A tax or two; prepare yourself, in short,

For clamours on that score: mark me you yield
No jot of what's entrusted you!


You yield!

No jot

Cha. My father, when I took the oath,
Although my eye might stray in search of yours,
I heard it, understood it, promised God
What you require. Till from this eminence
He moves me, here I keep, nor shall concede

The meanest of my rights.

Vic. [Aside.]

The boy's a fool!

-Or rather, I'm a fool: for, what's wrong here?

To-day the sweets of reigning-let to-morrow

Be ready with its bitters.

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Enter D'ORMEA.

There's beside

Somewhat to press upon your notice first.

Cha. Then why delay it for an instant, Sire? That Spanish claim, perchance? And, now you speak, -This morning, my opinion was matureWhich, boy-like, I was bashful in producing To one, I ne'er am like to fear, in future!

My thought is formed upon that Spanish claim.

Vic. (Betimes, indeed.) Not now, Charles. You require

A host of papers on it

D'O. [coming forward.] Here they are. [To CHA.] I was the minister and much beside—

Of the late monarch: to say little, him

I served; on you I have, to say e'en less,

No claim. This case contains those papers: with them

I tender you my office.

Vic. [hastily.]

Keep him,

Charles !

There's reason for it-many reasons you

Distrust him, nor are so far wrong there, but

He's mixed up in this matter-he'll desire

To quit you, for occasions known to me:
Do not accept those reasons-have him stay!
Pol. [Aside.] His minister thrust on us!
Cha. [to D'ORMEA.]

In justice to myself, you do not need

Sir, believe,

E'en this commending: whatsoe'er might be

My feelings toward you as a private man,
They quit me in the vast and untried field
Of action. Though I shall, myself, (as late
In your own hearing I engaged to do)
Preside o'er my Sardinia, yet your help
Is necessary. Think the past forgotten,
And serve me now!


I did not offer you

My services-would I could serve you, Sire!
As for the Spanish matter


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But despatch

At least the dead, in my good daughter's phrase,
Before the living! Help to house me safe
Ere you

and D'Ormea set the world a-gape!

Here is a paper-will you overlook

What I propose reserving for my needs?
I get as far from you as possible.

There's what I reckon my expenditure.

Cha. [reading.] A miserable fifty thousand crowns !
Vic. Oh, quite enough for country gentlemen!

Beside the exchequer happens... but find out

All that, yourself!

Cha. [still reading.]


"Count Tende"-what means

Vic. Me: you were but an infant when I burst Through the defile of Tende upon France.

Had only my allies kept true to me!

No matter.

Just as ...

Tende 's, then, a name I take


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