« PreviousContinue »
Muffled to whisper curses to the night; Lioni. Ay, is it even so ? Excuse me,
From such exalted hecatombs—who are they
its, are With honest mates, and bear a cheerful Divided like a house against itself, aspect.
And so will perish ere to-morrow's twilight! What hath come to thee? in thy hollow eye Lioni. More mysteries, and awful ones! And hueless cheek,and thine unquiet motions, Sorrow and shame and conscience seem at Or thou, or I, or both, it may be, are
Upon the verge of ruin; speak once out, To waste thee.
And thou art safe and glorious; for 'tis Bertram. Rather shame and sorrow light On the accursed tyranny which rides Glorious to save than slay, and slay i' the The very air in Venice, and makes men
dark tooMadden as in the last hours of the plague Fie, Bertram ! that was not a craft for thee! Which sweeps the soul deliriously from life! How would it look to see upon a spear Lioni. Some villains have been tamper- The head of him whose heart was open to ing with thee, Bertram;
thee, This is not thy old language, nor own Borne by thy hand before the shuddering thoughts;
people? Some wretch has made thee drunk with And such may be my doom; for here I swear, disaffection;
Whate'er the peril or the penalty But thou must not be lost so; thou wert good of thy denunciation, I go forth, And kind, and art not fit for such base acts Unless thou dost detail the cause, and show As vice and villany would put thee to : The consequence of all which led thee here! Confess - confide in me – thou know'st my Bertram. Is there no way to save thee? nature
minutes fly, What is it thou and thine are bound to do, And thou art lost!- thou! my sole beneWhich should prevent thy friend, the only
The only being who was constant to me of him who was a friend unto thy father, Through every change. Yet, make me not So that our good-will is a heritage
a traitor! We should bequeath to our posterity Let me save thee - but spare my honour! Such as ourselves received it, or augmented; Lioni. Where I say, what is it thou must do, that I Can lie the honour in a league of murder? Should deem thee dangerous, and keep the And who are traitors save unto the state? house
Bertram. A league is still a compact, Like a sick girl ?
and more binding Bertram. Say, question me no further : In honest hearts when words must stand
for law; Lioni. And I be murder'd!— say, And in my mind, there is no traitor like Was it not thus thou saidst, my gentle He whose domestic treason plants the poniard Bertram ?
Within the breast which trusted to his truth. Bertram. Who talks of murder? what Lioni. And who will strike the steel to said I of murder?
mine? T'is false! I did not utter such a word. Bertram. Not I; Lioni. Thou didst not; but from out I could have wound my soul up to all things thy wolfish eye,
Save this. Thou must not die! and think So changed from what I knew it, there
how dear glares forth
Thy life is, when I risk so many lives, The gladiator. If my life's thine object, Nay, more, the life of lives, the liberty Take it, I am unarın’d, -and then away! Of future generations, not to be I would not hold my breath on such a tenure The assassin thou miscall'st me;-once, As the capricious mercy of such things As thou and those who have set thee to thy I do adjure thee, pass not o'er thy threshola! taskwork.
Lioni. It is in vain this moment I go Bertram. Sooner than spill thy blood, forth. I peril mine;
Bertram. Then perisk Venice rather than Sooner than harm a hair of thine, I place
a thousand heads, and some I will disclose_ensnare betray-destroyAs noble, nay, even nobler than thine own. Oh, what a villain I become for thee!
I must be gone.
Lioni. Say, rather thy friend's saviour | SCENE II. - The Ducal Palace-the Doge's and the state's !-
Apartment. Speak-pause not-all rewards, all pledges for
The Doge and his nephew BERTUCCIO FALLEBO, Thy safety and thy welfare; wealth such as Doge. Are all the people of our house The state accords her worthiest servants;
in master? nay,
B. Fal. They are array'd, and eager for Nobility itself I guarantee thee,
the signal, So that thou art sincere and penitent. Within our palace precincts at San Polo. Bertram. I have thought again: it must I come for your last orders. not be- I love thee
Doge. It had been Thou knowest it--that I stand here is the As well had there been time to have got proof,
together Not least though last; but having done my From my own fief, Val di Marino, more duty
Of our retainers - but it is too late. By thee, I now must do it by my country! B. Fal. Methinks, my lord, 'tis better Farewell!-we meet no more in life!
as it is ; farewell!
A sudden swelling of our retinue Lioni. What, ho! Antonio–Pedro - to Had waked suspicion; and, though fierce the door!
and trusty, See that none pass-arrest this man! - The vassals of that district are too rude Enter Antonio and other armed Domestics, The secret discipline we need for such
And quick in quarrel to have long maintain'd who seize BERTRAM.
A service, till our foes are dealt upon. Lioni (continues). Take care
Doge. True; but when once the signal He hath no harm ; bring me my sword
has been given, and cloak;
These are the men for such an enterprise: And man the gondola with four oars— These city-slaves have all their private bias. quick
[Erit Antonio. Their prejudice against or for this noble, We will unto Giovanni Gradenigo's, Which may induce them to o'erdo or spare And send for Marc Cornaro :— fear not, Where mercy may be madness; the fierce Bertram ;
peasants, This needful violence is for thy safety, Serfs of my county of Val di Marino, No less than for the general weal. Would do the bidding of their lord without Bertram. Where wouldst thou
Distinguishing for love or hate his foes ; Bear me a prisoner?
Alike to them Marcello or Cornaro, Lioni. Firstly, to “The Ten;"
A Gradenigo or a Foscari ; Next to the Doge.
They are not used to start at those vain Bertram. To the Doge? Lioni. Assuredly;
Nor bow the knee before a civic senate: Is he not chief of the state?
A chief in armour is their Suzerain, Bertram. Perhaps at sunrise
And not a thing in robes. Lioni. What mean you?- but we'll know B. Fal. We are enough;
And for the dispositions of our clients Bertram. Art sure?
Against the senate I will answer. Lioni. Sure as all gentle means can Doge. Well, make; and if
The die is thrown; but for a warlike service, They fail, you know “The Ten" and their Done in the field, commend me to my tribunal,
peasants; And that Saint Mark's has dungeons, and they made the sun shine through the host the dungeons
of Huns A rack.
When sallow burghers slunk back to their Bertram. Apply to it before the dawn
tents, Now hastening into heaven.-One more And cower'd to hear their own victorious such word,
trumpet. And you shall perish piecemeal, by the death If there he small resistance, you will find Ye think to doom to me.
These citizens all lions, like their standard ;
But if there's much to do, you'll wish,withme, Re-enter AntonIO.
A band of iron rustics at our backs. Antonio. The bark is ready,
B. Fal. Thus thinking, I must marvel My lord, and all prepared.
you resolved Lioni. Look to the prisoner,
To strike the blow so suddenly.
(Exeunt. I had o’ermaster'd the weak false remorse
Which yeara'd about my heart, too fondly Timoleon immortal, than to face yielding
The toils and dangers of a life of war. A moment to the feelings of old days, B. Fal. It gladdens me to see your former I was most fain to strike; and, firstly, that
wisdom I might not yield again to such emotions; Subdue the furies which so wrung you ere And, secondly, because of all these men, You were decided. Save Israel and Philip Calendaro,
Doge. It was ever thus I know not well the courage or the faith: With me; the hour of agitation came To-day might find 'mongst them a traitor In the first glimmerings of a purpose, when
Passion had too much room to sway; but in As yesterday a thousand to the senate; The hour of action I have stood as calm But once in, with their hilts hot in their As were the dead who lay around me: this hands,
They knew who made me what I am, and They must on for their own sakes; one
trusted stroke struck,
To the subduing power which I preserved And the mere instinct of the first-born Cain, Over my mood, when its first burst was spent. Which ever lurks somewhere in human But they were not aware that there are things hearts,
Which make revenge a virtue by reflection, Though circumstance may keep it in And not an impulse of mere anger; though abeyance,
The laws sleep, justice wakes, and injured Will urge the rest on like to wolves; the
Oft do a public right with private wrong, Of blood to crowds begets the thirst of And justify their deeds unto themselves. more,
Methinks the day breaks - is it not so? look, As the first wine-cup leads to the long revel; Thine eyes are clear with youth ; – the air And you will find a harder task to quell
puts on Than urge them when they have commen- A morning-freshness, and, at least to me, ced; but till
The sea looks grayer through the lattice. That moment, a mere voice, a straw, a B. Fal. True, shadow
The morn is dappling in the sky.
See that they strike without delay, and with B. Fal. Almost upon the dawn.
The first toll from St. Mark's, march on the Doge. Then it is time to strike upon the palace bell.
With all our house's strength! here I will Are the men posted ?
meet you— B. Fal. By this time they are;
The Sixteen and their companies will move But they have orders not to strike, until In separate columns at the self-same moThey have command from you through me
Be sure you post yourself by the great gate, Doge. Tis well.–Will the morn never I would not trust "The Ten ” except to usput to rest
The rest, the rabble of patricians, may These stars which twinkle yet o'er all the Glut the more careless swords of those heavens?
leagued with us. I am settled and bound up, and being so, Remember that the cry is still “Saint Mark! The very effort which it cost me to The Genoese are come-ho! to the rescue! Rexolve to cleanse this cominonwealth with Saint Mark and liberty!”Now, now to fire,
action! low leaves my mind more steady. I have B. Fal. Farewell then, noble uncle! we wept,
will meet And trembled at the thought of this dread In freedom and true sovereignty, or never! duty;
Doge. Come hither, my Bertuccio-one But now I have put down all idle passion, embraceAnd look the growing tempest in the face, Speed, for the day grows broader–Send As doth the pilot of an admiral-galley: let (wouldsi thou think it, kinsman ?) it A messenger to tell me how all goes bath been
When you rejoin our troops, and then greater struggle to me, than when nations sound-sound Beheld their fate merged in the approaching The storm-bell from Saint Mark's ! fight,
[Erit Bertuccio Faliero. Where I was leader of a phalanx, where Doge (solus). He is gone, Thousands were sure to perish– Yes, to spill And on each footstep moves a life.- T'is done. The rank polluted current from the veins Now the destroying Angel hovers o'er
Of a few bloated despots needed more Venice, and pauscs ere he pours the vial, - To sterl me to a purpose such as made Even as the Eagle overlooks his prey,
And for a moment poised in middle air, Sound till the strong tower rock! What, Suspends the motion of his mighty wings,
silent still? Then swoops with his unerring beak. I would go forth, but that my post is here, Thou day!
To be the centre of re-union to That slowly walk'st the waters! march— The oft discordant elements which form march on
Leagues of this nature, and to keep compact I would not smite i’ the dark, but rather see The
wavering or the weak, in case of conflict; That no stroke errs. And you, ye blue For if they should do battle, 'twill be here, sea-waves!
Within the palace, that the strife will I have seen you dyed ere now, and deeply
Then here must be my station as becomes With Genoese, Saracen, and Hunnish gore, Tke master-mover. – Hark! he comes-- he While that of Venice flowd too, but victorious:
My nephew, brave Bertuccio's messenger.-Now thou must wear an unmix'd crimson; no What tidings? Is he marching? Hath he Barbaric blood can reconcile us now Unto that horrible incarnadine,
They here !—all's lost-yet will I make an But friend or foe will roll in civic slaughter.
effort. And have I lived to fourscore years for this? 1, who was named Preserver of the City ? Enter a Signor of the Night, with Guards. I, at whose name the million's caps were Sign. of the Night. Doge, I arrest thee flung
of high treason! Into the air, and cries from tens of thousands
Doge. Me! Rose up, imploring Heaven to send me Thy prince, of treason ?-Who are they blessings,
that dare And fame and length of days—to see this day? Cloak their own treason under such an order? But this day black within the calendar, Sign. of the Night (showing his order). Shall be succeeded by a bright millennium. Behold my order from the assembled Ten. Doge Dandolo survived to ninety summers Doge. And where are they, and why To vanquish empires and refuse their crown;
assembled ? no I will resign a crown, and make the state Such council can be lawful, till the prince Renew its freedom--but oh! by what means? Preside there, and that duty 's mine: on The noble end must justify them- What
thine Are a few drops of human blood? 'tis false, I charge thee, give me way, or marshal me The blood of tyrants is not human; they, To the council-chamber. Like to incarnate Molochs, feed on ours, Sign. of the Night. Duke, it may not be; Until 'tis time to give them to the tombs Nor are they in the wonted Hall of Council, Which they have made so populous.-Oh But sitting in the convent of Saint Saviour's world!
Doge. You dare to disobey me then? Oh men! what are ye, and our best designs, Sign. of the Night. I serve That we must work by crime to punish The state, and needs must serve it faithfully; crime?
My warrant is the will of those who rule it. And slay as if Death had but this one gate, Doge. And till that warrant has my When a few years would make the sword signature superfiuous ?
It is illegal, and, as now applied, And I, upon the verge of th’unknown realm, Rebellious-Hast thou weigh'd well thy Yet send so many heralds on before me?
life's worth, I must not ponder this. (A pause.) Hark! That thus you dare assume a lawless was there not
function? A murmur as of distant voices, and
Sign. of the Night. 'Tis not my office The tramp of feet in martial unison?
to reply, but act What phantoms even of sound our wishes I am placed here as guard upon thy person, raise !
And not as judge to hear or to decide. It cannot be- the signal hath not rung- Doge (aside). I must gain time - So that Why pauses it? My nephew's messenger
the storm-bell sound, Should be upon his way to me, and he All may be well yet. --- Kinsman, speedHimself perhaps even now draws grating speed - speed !back
Our fate is trembling in the balance, and Upon its ponderous hinge the steep tower-Woe to the vanquish’d! be they prince and portal,
people, Where swings the sullen huge oracular bell, Or slaves and senateWhich never knells but for a princely death, [The great bell of Saint Mark's tolls. Or for a state in peril, pealing forth
Lo! it sounds-it tolls! Tremendous bodements; let it do its office, Doge (aloud). Hark, Signor of the Night! And be this peal its awfullest and last!
and you, ye hirelings,
Who wield your mercenary staves in fear, Second Signor. They are -- besides, it
trial Stand to your arms, and guard the door. Their followers are dispersed, and many all's lost
taken. l'nless that fearful bell be silenced soon. B. Fal. Uncle ! The officer hath miss'd his path or purpose, Doge. It is in vain to war with Fortune; Or met some unforeseen and hideous obstacle. The glory hath departed from our house. Anselmo, with thy company proceed
B. Fal. Who would have deem'd it? Straight to the tower; the rest remain
Ah! one moment sooner! with me.
Doge. That moment would have changed [Erit a part of the Guard.
the face of ages ; Doge. Wretch! if thou wouldst have thy This gives us to eternity-We'll meet it vile life, implore it;
As men whose triumph is not in success, It is not now a lease of sixty seconds. But who can make their own minds all in all, Ay, send thy miserable ruffians forth; Equal to every fortune. Droop not, 'tis They never shall return.
But a brief passage-I would go alone, Sign. of the Night. So let it be! Yet if they send us, as 'tis like, together, They die then in their duty, as will I. Let us go worthy of our sires and selves. Doge. Fool! the high eagle flies at nobler B. Fal. I shall not shame you, uncle. game
First Signor. Lords, our orders Than thou and thy base myrmidons - live on, Are to keep guard on both in separate Sa thou provok'st not peril by resistance,
trial, To gaze npon the sunbeams) to be free. Doge. Our trial! will they keep their Sign. of the Night. And learn thou to
mockery up be captive-It hath ceased, Even to the last? but let them deal upon us,
[The bell ceases to toll. As we had dealt on them, but with less pomp. The traitorous signal, which was to have set 'Tis but a game of mutual homicides, The bloodhound - mob on their patrician who have cast lots for the first death, and prey
they The knell bath rung, but it is not the senate's! Have won with false dice.- Who hath been Doge (after a pause). All's silent, and our Judas? all's lost!
First Signor. I am not warranted to Sign. of the Night. Now, Doge, denounce me answer that. As rebel slave of a revolted council ! B. Fal. I'll answer for thee-'tis a certain Have I not done my duty ?
Bertram, Doge. Peace, thou thing!
Even now deposing to the secret Gianta. Thou hast done a worthy deed, and earn'd Doge. Bertram, the Bergamask ! With the price
what vile tools Of blood, and they who use thee will We operate to slay or save! This creature, reward thee.
Black with a double treason, now will earn But thou wert sent to watch,and not to prate, Rewards and honours,and be stampt in story As thou saidst even now then do thine office, With the geese in the Capitol, which gabbled Bat let it be in silence, as behoves thee, Till Rome awoke and had an annual triumph, Since, though thy prisoner, I am thy prince. While Manlius, who hurl'd down the Gauls, Sign. of the Night. I did not mean to fail in the respect
From the Tarpeian. Due to your rank: in this I shall obey you. First Signor. He aspired to treason, Doge (aside). There now is nothing left and sought to rule the state. me save to die;
Doge. He saved the state, And yet how near success! I would have And sought but to reform what he revived-fallen,
But this is idle-Come, sirs, do your work. And proudly, in the hour of triumph, but First Signor. Noble Bertuccio, we must To miss it thus !
now remove you
Into an inner chamber.
B. Fal. Farewell, uncle !
If we shall meet again in life I know not. Second Signor. We took him in the act But they perhaps will let our ashes mingle. Of issuing from the tower, where,at his order, Doge. Yes, and our spirits, which shall As delegated from the Doge, the signal
yet go forth, Had thus begun to sound.
And do what our frail clay, thus clogg'd, First Signor. Are all the passes
hath fail'd in! Which lead up to the palace well secured ? | They cannot quench the memory of those