Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology

Mapping Keats’s Progress
A Critical Chronology

Otho the Great: A Tragedy in Five Acts: Act III SCENE I

  • The Country.
  • Enter ALBERT.
  • Albert. O that the earth were empty, as when Cain
  • Had no perplexity to hide his head!
  • Or that the sword of some brave enemy
  • Had put a sudden stop to my hot breath,
  • And hurl’d me down the illimitable gulph
  • Of times past, unremember’d! Better so
  • Than thus fast-limed in a cursed snare,
  • The limbo of a wanton. This the end
  • Of an aspiring life! My boyhood past
  • In feud with wolves and bears, when no eye saw
  • The solitary warfare, fought for love
  • Of honour ’mid the growling wilderness —
  • My sturdier youth, maturing to the sword,
  • Won by the syren-trumpets, and the ring
  • Of shields upon the pavement, when bright mail’d
  • Henry the Fowler pass’d the streets of Prague.
  • Was’t to this end I louted and became
  • The menial of Mars, and held a spear
  • Sway’d by command, as corn is by the wind?
  • Is it for this, I now am lifted up
  • By Europe’s throned Emperor, to see
  • My honour be my executioner, —
  • My love of fame, my prided honesty
  • Put to the torture for confessional?
  • Then the damn’d crime of blurting to the world
  • A woman’s secret — though a fiend she be,
  • Too tender of my ignominious life;
  • But then to wrong the generous Emperor
  • In such a searching point, were to give up
  • My soul for foot-ball at hell’s holiday!
  • I must confess, — and cut my throat, — to-day?
  • To-morrow? Ho! some wine!
  • Enter SIGIFRED.
  • Sigifred. A fine humour —
  • Albert. Who goes there? Count Sigifred? Ha! ha! ha!
  • Sigifred. What, man, do you mistake the hollow sky
  • For a throng’d tavern, — and these stubbed trees
  • For old serge hangings, — me, your humble friend,
  • For a poor waiter? Why, man, how you stare!
  • What gipsies have you been carousing with?
  • No, no more wine; methinks you’ve had enough.
  • Albert. You well may laugh and banter. What a fool
  • An injury may make of a staid man!
  • You shall know all anon. Sig. Albert! a tavern brawl?
  • ’Twas with some people of high consequence;
  • Revenge is difficult.
  • Sigifred. I am your friend;
  • We meet again to-day, and can confer
  • Upon it. For the present I’m in haste.
  • Albert.Whither?
  • Sigifred. To fetch King Gersa to the feast.
  • The Emperor on this marriage is so hot,
  • Pray heaven it end not in apoplexy!
  • Heard his loud laugh, and answer’d in full choir.
  • I marvel, Albert, you delay so long
  • From those bright revelries; go, show yourself,
  • You may be made a duke.
  • Albert. Ay, very like
  • Pray, what day has his Highness fix’d upon?
  • Sigifred. For what?
  • Albert. The marriage. What else can I mean?
  • Sigifred. To-day! O, I forgot, you could not know;
  • The news is scarce a minute old with me.
  • Albert. Married to-day! to-day! You did not say so?
  • Sigifred. Now, while I speak to you, their comely heads
  • Are bow’d before the mitre.
  • Albert. O! monstrous!
  • Sigifred. What is this?
  • Albert. Nothing, Sigifred. Farewell!
  • We’ll meet upon our subject. Farewell, Count! (Exit.)
  • Sigifred. Is this clear-Headed Albert? he brain-turn’d!
  • ’Tis as portentous as a meteor. (Exeunt.)

🗙 Cite this page:

MLA Style: Works Cited

Keats, John. “Otho the Great: A Tragedy in Five Acts: Act III SCENE I.” Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, by G. Kim Blank. Edition 3.5 , University of Victoria, 18 October 2020. https://johnkeats.uvic.ca/poem_otho_act_iii_scene_i.html.

Chicago Style: Note

John Keats, “Otho the Great: A Tragedy in Five Acts: Act III SCENE I,” Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, Edition 3.5 , last modified 18th October 2020. https://johnkeats.uvic.ca/poem_otho_act_iii_scene_i.html.

Chicago Style: Bibliography

Keats, John. “Otho the Great: A Tragedy in Five Acts: Act III SCENE I.” Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, Edition 3.5 , last modified 18th October 2020. https://johnkeats.uvic.ca/poem_otho_act_iii_scene_i.html.