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Byron - Deformed Transformed

Jun 03, 2018



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    The Deformed Transformed G eo rg e G or do n, L or d B yr on

    This page copyright 2002Blackmask Online.

    PART I.

    Scene I.

    Scene II. PART II.

    Scene I.

    Scene II.

    Scene III. PART III.


    D RA MA TI S P ER SO N . S tr an ge r, afterwards

    C sa r. A rn ol d. B ou rb on . P hi li be rt . Ce ll in i. B ert ha . Ol im pi a. Spirits,

    Soldiers, Citizens of Rome, Priests, Peasants, etc.

    PART I.

    Scene I.

    A Forest.

    Enter Arnold and his mother Bertha.


    Out, Hunchback!


    I was born so, Mother!



    Thou incubus! Thounightmare! Of seven sons,

    The sole abortion!


    Would that I had been so,

    And never seen the light!


    I would so, too!

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    But as thou hast hence, henceand do thy best!

    That back of thine may bear its burthen; 'tis

    More high, if not so broad as that of others.


    It bears its burthen;but,myheart!Will it

    Sustain thatwhich you lay upon it, Mother?I love, or, at the least, I lovedyou: nothing

    SaveYou, in nature, can love aught likeme.

    You nursedmedo not killme!


    YesI nursed thee,

    Because thouwertmy first-born, and I knew not

    If there would be another unlike thee,

    Thatmonstrous sport ofNature. But get hence,

    And gather wood!


    I will: but when I bring it,

    Speak tomekindly. Thoughmybrothers are

    Sobeautiful and lusty, and as free

    As the free chase they follow, donot spurn me:

    Our milk hasbeen the same.


    As is the hedgehog's,

    Which sucks atmidnight from the wholesome damOf the young bull, until themilkmaid finds

    The nipple, next day, sore, and udder dry.

    Call not thy brothers brethren! Callmenot

    Mother; for if I brought thee forth, itwas

    As foolish hensat times hatch vipers, by

    Sitting upon strange eggs.Out, urchin, out!

    [ E xi t B er t h a .


    Oh, mother!She is gone, and I must doHerbidding;wearilybutwillingly

    I would fulfil it, could I onlyhope

    A kind word in return. What shall I do?

    [ Ar nol d be gi ns t o c ut w oo d: i n d oi ng t hi s he w oun ds o ne of h is ha nd s.

    My labour for the day is over now.

    Accursd be this blood that flows so fast;

    For double curseswill bemymeed now

    At homeWhat home? I have nohome, no kin,

    No kindnot made like other creatures, or

    To share their sports or pleasures.Must I bleed, too,

    Like them? Oh, that each dropwhich falls to earth

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    Would rise a snake to sting them, as theyhave stung me!

    Or that the Devil, towhomthey liken me,

    Would aid his likeness! If I must partake

    His form, whynot his power? Is it because

    I have not hiswill too? For one kind word

    From herwho boremewould still reconcile me

    Even to this hateful aspect. Let mewashThe wound.

    [Arnold goes to a spring, and stoops to wash his hand: he starts back.

    They are right; and Nature'smirror shows me,

    What she hathmade me. I will not look on it

    Again, and scarce dare think on't. Hideous wretch

    That I am! The very waters mockme with

    My horrid shadowlike a demon placed

    Deep in the fountain to scare back the cattle

    From drinking therein. [ H e p au s es .

    And shall I live on,

    A burden to the earth,myself, and shame

    Untowhat brought me into life? Thoublood,

    Which flowest so freely froma scratch, let me

    Try if thou wilt not, ina fuller stream,

    Pour forth mywoes for everwith thyself

    On earth, towhich I will restore, at once,

    This hateful compoundof her atoms, and

    Resolve back to her elements, and takeThe shape of any reptile savemyself,

    And makea world for myriads of new worms!

    This knife!now let meprove if itwill sever

    Thiswithered slip ofNature's nightshademy

    Vile formfrom the creation, as it hath

    The green bough from the forest.

    [Arnold places the knife in the ground, with the point upwards.

    Now 'tis set,And I can fall upon it. Yet one glance

    On the fair day,which seesno foul thing like

    Myself, and the sweet sun which warmedme, but

    In vain. The birdshow joyously they sing!

    So let them, for I wouldnot be lamented:

    But let their merriest notes beArnold's knell;

    The fallen leavesmymonument; themurmur

    Of the near fountainmysole elegy.

    Now, knife, stand firmly, as I fain would fall!

    [ A s h e r u sh e s t o t h ro w h i ms e l f up o n t he k n i f e, h i s e y e i s s u dd e nl y c a ug h t

    by the fountain, which seems in motion.

    The fountainmoveswithout a wind: but shall

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    The ripple of a spring changemy resolve?

    No.Yet it moves again! The waters stir,

    Not as with air, but by some subterrane

    And rocking Power of the internalworld.

    What's here? A mist! Nomore?

    [A cloud comes from the fountain. He stands gazing upon it: it is

    d is pe ll ed , a nd a t al l b la ck m an c om es t ow ar ds h im .


    What would you? Speak!

    Spirit orman?


    As man is both, why not

    Say both in one?

    Arn. Your form isman's, and yet

    Youmay be devil.


    So many men are that

    Which is so called or thought, that you mayadd me

    Towhich you please, without muchwrong to either.

    But come: youwish to kill yourself;pursue

    Your purpose.

    Arn. You have interrupted me.


    What is that resolutionwhich can e'er

    Be interrupted? If I be the devil

    You deem, a singlemomentwould havemadeyou

    Mine, and for ever, byyour suicide;

    And yet my coming saves you.


    I said not

    Youwere the Demon, but that your approach

    Was like one.


    Unless you keep company

    Withhim (andyou seemscarceused to suchhigh

    Society) you can't tell how he approaches;

    And for his aspect, lookupon the fountain,

    And thenon me, and judge which of us twain

    Looks likest what the boors believe to be

    Their cloven-footed terror.

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    Do youdareyou

    To taunt mewithmyborndeformity?


    Were I to taunt a buffalo with thisCloven foot of thine, or the swift dromedary

    With thy Sublime ofHumps, the animals

    Would revel in the compliment. And yet

    Both beings are more swift,more strong, moremighty

    In action and endurance than thyself,

    And all the fierce and fair of the same kind

    With thee. Thy form is natural: 'twas only

    Nature'smistaken largess to bestow

    The gifts which are ofothers uponman.


    Giveme the strength then of the buffalo's foot,

    Whenhe spurnshigh the dust, beholding his

    Near enemy; or letme have the long

    And patient swiftness of the desert-ship,

    The helmless dromedary!and I'll bear

    Thy fiendish sarcasmwith a saintly patience.


    I will.

    Arn.(with surprise).



    Perhaps. Would you aught else?


    Thoumockest me.

    Stran. Not I. Why should I mock

    What all are mocking?That 's poor sport,methinks.

    To talk to thee inhuman language (for

    Thou canst not yet speak mine), the forester

    Hunts not the wretched coney, but the boar,

    Orwolf, or lionleavingpaltry game

    Topetty burghers, who leave once a year

    Theirwalls, to fill their household cauldrons with

    Such scullion prey. The meanest gibe at thee,

    NowIcanmock the mightiest.


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    Then waste not

    Thy time onme: I seek theenot.


    Your thoughts

    Are not far fromme. Do not send me back:

    I'm not so easily recalled to doGood service.


    Whatwilt thou do for me?



    Shapeswithyou, if you will, sinceyours so irks you;

    Or formyou toyour wish in any shape.


    Oh! then you are indeed the Demon, for

    Nought elsewouldwittingly wearmine.


    I'll show thee

    The brightest which the world e'er bore, and give thee



    On what condition?


    There's a question!

    Anhourago youwouldhave givenyour soul

    To look like othermen, and nowyou pause

    Towear the formof heroes.


    No; I will not.

    I must not compromisemysoul.


    What soul,

    Worth naming so, would dwell in such a carcase?


    'Tis an aspiring one,whate'er the tenement

    Inwhich it ismislodged.But nameyour compact:

    Must it be signed in blood?


    Not in your own.

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    Whose blood then?


    Wewill talk of that hereafter.

    But I'll be moderate with you, for I see

    Great thingswithin you.You shall havenobond

    But your own will, no contract save your deeds.

    Are you content?


    I take thee at thy word.


    Now then!

    [The Stranger approaches the fountai