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Count Alarcos; a Tragedy   By: (1804-1881)

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COUNT ALARCOS

A TRAGEDY

By Benjamin Disraeli

As there is no historical authority for the events of the celebrated Ballad on which this Tragedy is founded, I have fixed upon the thirteenth century for the period of their occurrence. At that time the kingdom of Castille had recently obtained that supremacy in Spain which led, in a subsequent age, to the political integrity of the country. Burgos, its capital, was a magnificent city; and then also arose that masterpiece of Christian architecture, its famous Cathedral.

This state of comparative refinement and civilisation permitted the introduction of more complicated motives than the rude manners of the Ballad would have authorised; while the picturesque features of the Castillian middle ages still flourished in full force; the factions of a powerful nobility, renowned for their turbulence, strong passions, enormous crimes, profound superstition.

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London: May, 1839

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

THE KING OF CASTILLE. COUNT ALARCOS, a Prince of the Blood. COUNT OF SIDONIA. COUNT OF LEON. PRIOR OF BURGOS. ORAN, a Moor. FERDINAND, a PAGE. GUZMAN JACA, a BRAVO. GRAUS, the Keeper of a Posada.

SOLISA, Infanta of Castille, only child of the King. FLORIMONDE, Countess Alarcos. FLIX, a Hostess.

Courtiers, Pages, Chamberlains, Bravos, and Priests.

Time the 13th Century. Scene Burgos, the capital of Castille, and its vicinity.

ACT I

SCENE 1

A Street in Burgos; the Cathedral in the distance.

[Enter Two Courtiers.]

I:1:1 1ST COURT. The Prince of Hungary dismissed?

I:1:2 2ND COURT. Indeed So runs the rumour.

I:1:3 1ST COURT. Why the spousal note Still floats upon the air!

I:1:4 2ND COURT. Myself this morn Beheld the Infanta's entrance, as she threw, Proud as some hitless barb, her haughty glance On our assembled chiefs.

I:1:5 1ST COURT. The Prince was there?

I:1:6 2ND COURT. Most royally; nor seemed a man more fit To claim a kingdom for a dower. He looked Our Gadian Hercules, as the advancing peers Their homage paid. I followed in the train Of Count Alarcos, with whose ancient house My fortunes long have mingled.

I:1:7 1ST COURT. 'Tis the same, But just returned?

I:1:8 2ND COURT. Long banished from the Court; And only favoured since the Queen's decease, His ancient foe.

I:1:9 1ST COURT. A very potent Lord?

I:1:10 2ND COURT. Near to the throne; too near perchance for peace. You're young at Burgos, or indeed 'twere vain To sing Alarcos' praise, the brightest knight That ever waved a lance in Old Castille.

I:1:11 1ST COURT. You followed in his train?

I:1:12 2ND COURT. And as we passed, Alarcos bowing to the lowest earth, The Infanta swooned; and pale as yon niched saint, From off the throned step, her seat of place, Fell in a wild and senseless agony.

I:1:13 1ST COURT. Sancta Maria! and the King

I:1:14 2ND COURT. Uprose And bore her from her maidens, then broke up The hurried Court; indeed I know no more, For like a turning tide the crowd pressed on, And scarcely could I gain the grateful air... Continue reading book >>




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