Don Carlos

Don Carlos

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SCENE I. The Royal Gardens in Aranjuez.CARLOS and DOMINGO.DOMINGO.Our pleasant sojourn in AranjuezIs over now, and yet your highness quitsThese joyous scenes no happier than before.Our visit hath been fruitless. Oh, my prince,Break this mysterious and gloomy silence!Open your heart to your own father's heart!A monarch never can too dearly buyThe peace of his own son—his only son.[CARLOS looks on the ground in silence.Is there one dearest wish that bounteous HeavenHath e'er withheld from her most favored child?I stood beside, when in Toledo's wallsThe lofty Charles received his vassals' homage,When conquered princes thronged to kiss his hand,And there at once six mighty kingdoms fellIn fealty at his feet: I stood and markedThe young, proud blood mount to his glowing cheek,I saw his bosom swell with high resolves,His eye, all radiant with triumphant pride,Flash through the assembled throng; and that same eyeConfessed, "Now am I wholly satisfied!"[CARLOS turns away.This silent sorrow, which for eight long moonsHath hung its shadows, prince, upon your brow—The mystery of the court, the nation's grief—Hath cost your father many a sleepless night,And many a tear of anguish to your mother.CARLOS (turning hastily round).My mother! Grant, O heaven, I may forgetHow she became my mother!DOMINGO.Gracious prince!CARLOS (passing his hands thoughtfully over his brow).Alas! alas! a fruitful source of woeHave mothers been to me. My youngest act,When first these eyes beheld the light of day,Destroyed a mother.DOMINGO.Is it possibleThat this reproach disturbs your conscience, prince?CARLOS.And my new mother! Hath she not alreadyCost me my father's heart? Scarce loved at best.My claim to some small favor lay in this—I was his only child! 'Tis over! SheHath blest him with a daughter—and who knowsWhat slumbering ills the future hath in store?DOMINGO.You jest, my prince. All Spain adores its queen.Shall it be thought that you, of all the world,Alone should view her with the eyes of hate—Gaze on her charms, and yet be coldly wise?How, prince? The loveliest lady of her time,A queen withal, and once your own betrothed?No, no, impossible—it cannot be!Where all men love, you surely cannot hate.Carlos could never so belie himself.I prithee, prince, take heed she do not learnThat she hath lost her son's regard. The newsWould pain her deeply.CARLOS. Ay, sir! think you so?DOMINGO.Your highness doubtless will remember how,At the late tournament in Saragossa,A lance's splinter struck our gracious sire.The queen, attended by her ladies, satHigh in the centre gallery of the palace,And looked upon the fight. A cry arose,"The king! he bleeds!" Soon through the general din,A rising murmur strikes upon her ear."The prince—the prince!" she cries, and forward rushed,As though to leap down from the balcony,When a voice answered, "No, the king himself!""Then send for his physicians!" she replied,And straight regained her former self-composure....