The Poems of Emma Lazarus— Volume 1

Author: Emma Lazarus

Scene II.

RIBERA’S garden. Half the sky illuminated by an over-clouded
moon, the rest obscured by an approaching storm. Occasional
thunder and lightning. On on side of the stage a summer-house
open to the audience, on the other side the exterior of the
dwelling. DON JOHN discovered waiting near the house. The door
opens, and enter MARIA.

DON JOHN (springing forward and embracing her).
At last! at last!

Juan, beware! My father’s fears,
I cannot guess by whom or what, are roused.
[She extends her arms gropingly to embrace him.]
Oh, let me feel thee near me—I see naught.
Follow me; here our voices may be heard.
[She hastens towards the summer-house, leaning upon his arm,
and sinks upon a seat.]
Have not slow ages passed with crowding woes
Since we last met! What have I not endured!
Oh, Juan, save me!

Dearest child, be calm.
Thou art strangely overwrought. Speak not. Await
Till this wild fear be past.

How great you are!
Your simple presence stills and comforts me.
While you are here, the one thing real to me
In all the universe is love.

And yet
My love is here, if I be far or nigh.
Is this the spirit of a soldier’s wife?
Nay, fiery courage, iron fortitude,
That soul must own that dares to say, "I love."

And I dare say it. I can bear the worst
That envious fate may heap upon my head,
If thou art with me, or for hope of thee.

Art sure of that? Thou couldst not part from me,
Even for thy father’s sake?

Talk you of parting?
For God’s sake, what is this? You love no more?

Rather I love so truly that I shrink
From asking thee to share a soldier’s fate.
I tremble to uproot so fine a flower
From its dear native earth. I—

MARIA (putting her hand on his lips).
Hush, no more!
I need no preparation more than this,
Your mere request.

There spake my heroine.
The King, my father, bids me to repair
Unto Palermo.

Shall we sail to-night?

My Princess! Thou recoilest not from all
Thou must endure, ere I can openly
Claim thee my wife!

The pangs of purgatory
Were lightly borne with such a heaven in view.
I were content with one brief hour a day,
Snatched from the toils of war and thy high duties,
To gaze on thy dear face—to feel thy hand,
Even as now a stay and a caress.

Angel, I have no thanks. May God forget me
When I forget this hour! So, thou art firm—
Ready this night to leave thy home, thy kin,
Thy father?

MARIA (solemnly).
I am ready and resolved.
Yet judge me not so lightly as to deem
I say this with no pang. My love were naught,
Could I withdraw it painlessly at once
From him round whose colossal strength the tendrils
Of mine own baby heart were taught to twine.
I speak not now as one who swerves or shrinks,
But merely, dear, to show thee what sharp tortures
I, nowise blind, but with deliberate soul,
Embrace for thee.

How can I doubt the anguish
So rude a snapping of all ties must smite
Thy tender heart withal? Yet, dwell we not
On the brief pain, but on the enduring joys.
If Ribera’s love be all thou deemest,
He will forgive thy secret flight, thy—

May I not bid farewell? May I not tell him
Where we are bound? How soon he may have hope
To hear from me—to welcome me, thy Princess?
I dare not leave him without hope.

My child,
Thou art mad! We must be secret as the grave,
Else are we both undone. I have given out
That I depart in princely state to-morrow.
Far from the quay a bark awaiteth us.
I know my man. Shrouded by careful night,
We will set secret sail for Sicily.
Once in Palermo, thou mayst write thy father—
Sue for his pardon—tell him that, ere long,
When I have won by cautious policy
King Philip’s favor, thou shalt be proclaimed
Princess of Austria.

MARIA (who has hung upon his words with trembling excitement,
covers her face with her hands, and bursts into tears).
I cannot! no! I cannot!

DON JOHN (scornfully).
I feared as much. Well, it is better thus.
I asked thee not to front the "worst of ills
That envious fate could heap upon thy head"—
Only a little patience. ’T was too much;
I cannot blame thee. ’T is a loving father.
I, a mere stranger, had naught else to hope,
Matching my claim with his.

MARIA (looks at him and throws herself at his feet).
Oh, pardon, pardon!
My Lord, my Prince, my husband! I am thine!
Lead wheresoe’er thou wilt, I follow thee.
Tell me a life’s devotion may efface
The weakness of a moment!

DON JOHN (raising her tenderly and embracing her).
Ah, mine own!


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Chicago: Emma Lazarus, "Scene 2," The Poems of Emma Lazarus— Volume 1, ed. Callaway, Morgan, Jr., 1962- in The Poems of Emma Lazarus—Volume 1 (New York: George E. Wood, 1850), Original Sources, accessed September 30, 2023,

MLA: Lazarus, Emma. "Scene 2." The Poems of Emma Lazarus— Volume 1, edited by Callaway, Morgan, Jr., 1962-, in The Poems of Emma Lazarus—Volume 1, New York, George E. Wood, 1850, Original Sources. 30 Sep. 2023.

Harvard: Lazarus, E, 'Scene 2' in The Poems of Emma Lazarus— Volume 1, ed. . cited in 1850, The Poems of Emma Lazarus—Volume 1, George E. Wood, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 30 September 2023, from