PROLOGUE AT ISCHIA
The Castle Terrace. VITTORIA COLONNA, and JULIA GONZAGA.
Will you then leave me, Julia, and so soon,
To pace alone this terrace like a ghost?
Do not say to-morrow.
A whole month of to-morrows were too soon.
You must not go. You are a part of me.
I must return to Fondi.
The old castle
Needs not your presence. No one waits for you.
Stay one day longer with me. They who go
Feel not the pain of parting; it is they
Who stay behind that suffer. I was thinking
But yesterday how like and how unlike
Have been, and are, our destinies. Your husband,
The good Vespasian, an old man, who seemed
A father to you rather than a husband,
Died in your arms; but mine, in all the flower
And promise of his youth, was taken from me
As by a rushing wind. The breath of battle
Breathed on him, and I saw his face no more,
Save as in dreams it haunts me. As our love
Was for these men, so is our sorrow for them.
Yours a child's sorrow, smiling through its tears;
But mine the grief of an impassioned woman,
Who drank her life up in one draught of love.