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Pier. Not in a cause like ours.
Jaf. A man. Jaf. Then, friend, our cause
Ren. My friend, my near ally, Is in a damned condition : for I'll tell thee, The hostage of your faith, my beauteous charge, That canker-worm, called lechery, has touched
is very well.
Jaf. Sir, are you sure of that? 'Tis tainted vilely. Would'st thou think it? Re- Stands she in perfect health ? beats her pulse nault
even? (That mortified old withered winter rogue) Neither too hot nor cold? Loves simple fornication like a priest ;
Ren. What means that question ? I found him out for watering at my wife;
Jaf. Oh, women have fantastic constitutions, He visited her last night, like a kind guardian:
Inconstant in their wishes, always wavering, Faith! she has some temptation, that's the truth And never fixed. Was it not boldly done, on't.
Even at first sight, to trust the thing I loved Pier. He durst not wrong his trust?
(A tempting treasure too) with youth so fierce Jaf: 'Twas something late, though,
And vigorous as thine? but thou art honest. To take the freedom of a lady's chamber.
Ren. Who dares accuse me? Pier. Was she in bed ?
Jaf. Cursed be he that doubts Jaf. Yes, faith, in virgin sheets,
Thy virtue! I have tried it, and declare, White as her bosom, Pierre, dished neatly up, Were I to chuse a guardian of my honour, Might tempt a weaker appetite to taste.
I'd put it in thy keeping: for I know thee. Oh! how the old fox stunk, I warrant thee,
Ren. Know me! When the rank fit was on him!
Jaf. Ay, know thee. There's no falsehood in Pier. Patience guide me! He used no violence ?
Thou look’st just as thou art. Let us embrace! Jaf. No; no ; out on it, violence !
Now, would'st thou cut my throat, or I cut thine? Played with her neck; brushed her with his grey Ren. You dare not do it. beard;
Juf. You lie, sir. Struggled and touzed; tickled her, till she squeak Ren. How! ed a little,
Jaf. No more, May be, or so—but not a jot of violence 'Tis a base world, and must reform, that's all.
Pier. Damn him.
Juf. Ay, so say I: but hush, no more of it. Enter SPINOSA, THEODORE, ELIOT, REVILLLAll hitherto is weil, and I believe
DO, DURAND, BRAMVEIL, and the rest of the Myself no monster yet, though no man knows
Ren. You are welcome.
Ken. 'Tis a cold night, indeed, and I am aged ; To give the executing charge :
Full of decay and natural infirmities : I'd have thee be a man if possible,
(PIER, re-enteri And keep thy temper; for a brave revenge We shall be warm, my friends, I hope, to morNe'er comes too late. Jaf. Fear not, I am as cool as patience.
Pier. 'Twas not well done ; thou should'st Had he completed my dishonour, rather
have stroaked him, Than hazard the success our hopes are ripe for, And not have galled him. I'd bear it all with mortifying virtue.
Jaf. Damn him, let him chew on't. Pier. He's yonder, coming this way through Heaven! Where am I? beset with cursed fiends, the hall;
That wait to damn me! What a devil's man, His thoughts seem full.
When he forgets his nature-hush, my heart Jaf. Prithee retire, and leave me
Ren. My friends, 'tis late ; are we assembled With him alone; I'll put him to some trial ;
all? See how his rotten part will bear the touching, Where's Theodore ? Pier. Be careful, then.
(Erit. Theod. At band. Jaf. Nay, never doubt, but trust me.
Ren. Spinosa. What! be a devil, take a damning oath
Spin. Here. For shedding native blood! Can there be a sin Ren. Bramveil. In merciful repentance ? Oh, this villain !
Bram. I'm ready.
Ren. Durand and Brabe.
Dur. Command us; Ren. Perverse and peevish! What a slave is We are both prepared. man,
Omnes. All; all. To let his itching flesh thus get the better of him! Ren. Mezzano, Revillido, Dispatch the tool her husband—that were well. Ternon, Retrosi! Oh! you are men, I find, Who's there?
Fit to hold your fate, and meet her summons.
To-morrow's rising sun must see you all Confounded the most subtle: for we live, Decked in your honours. Are the soldiers ready? We live, my friends, and quickly shall our life Pier. All, all.
Prove fatal to these tyrants. Let's consider, Ren. You, Durand, with your thousand, must That we destroy oppression, avarice, possess
A people nursed up equally with vices St Mark's; you, captain, know your charge al And loathsome lusts, which nature most abhors, ready ;
And such as without shame she cannot suffer. 'Tis to secure the ducal palace : You,
Jaf. Oh, Belvidera! take me to thy arms, Brabe, with an hundred more, must gain the And shew me where's my peace, for I have lost Secque :
it! With the like number, Bramveil, to the Procurale ; Ren. Without the least remorse, then, let's Be all this done with the least tumult possible,
resolve 'Till in each place you post sufficient guards :
With fire and sword to exterminate these tyrants; Then sheathe your swords in every breast you And when we shall behold those cursed tribunals, meet.
Stained by the tears and sufferings of the innocent, Jaf. Oh! reverend cruelty! damned bloody Burning with filames rather from heaven than ours, villain!
(Aside, The raging, furious, and unpitying soldier Ren. During this execution, Durand, you Pulling his reeking daggers from the bosoms Must in the midst keep your battalia fast; Of gasping wretches ; death in every quarter ; And, Theodore, be sure to plant the cannon With all that sad disorder can produce, That may command the streets; whilst Revillido, To make a spectacle of horror: then, Mezzano, Ternon, and Retrosi guard you. Then let us call to mind, my dearest friends, This done, we'll give the general aların,
That there is nothing pure upon the earth; Apply petards, and force the arsenal gates; That the most valued things have most allays, Then fire the city round in several places, And that in change of all these vile enormities, Or with our cannon (if it dare resist)
Under whose weight this wretched country laBatter to ruin, But, above all, I charge you,
bours, Shed blood enough; spare neither sex nor age, The means are only in our hands to crown them., Name nor condition; if there live a senator Pier. And may those powers above, that are After to-morrow, though the dullest rogue
propitious That e'er said nothing, we have lost our ends. To gallant minds, record this cause and bless it! If possible, let's kill the very name
Ren. Thus happy, thus secure of all we wish, Of senator, and bury it in blood.
for, Jaf. Merciless, horrid slave-Ay, blood enough! Should there, my friends, be found among us one Shed blood enough, old Renault! how thou False to this glorious enterprise, what fate, charm'st me!
What vengeance, were enough for such a villain ? Ren. But one thing more, and then farewell, Eli. Death here without repentance, hell heretill fate
after. Join us again, or separate us for ever:
Ren. Let that be my lot, if, as here I stand, First let's embrace.' Heaven knows, who next Listed by fate among her darling sons, shall thus
Though I had one only brother, dear by all Wing ye together; but let's all remember, The strictest ties of nature; though one hour We wear no common cause upon our swords: Had given us birth, one fortune fed our wants, Let each man think, that on his single virtue One only love, and that but of each other, Depends the good and fame of all the rest; Still filled our minds; could I have such a friend Eternal honour, or perpetual infamy:
Joined in this cause, and had but ground to fear Let us remember through what dreadful hazards He meant foul play; may this right hand drop Propitious fortune hitherto has led us : How often on the brink of some discovery
If I'd not hazard all my future peace, Have we stood tottering, yet still kept our ground and stab him to the heart before you. Who, So well, that the busiest searchers ne'er could Who would do less? Would'st thou not, Pierre, follow
the same? Those subtle tracks, which puzzled all suspicion. Pier. You've singled me, sir, out for this hard You droop, sir.
question, Jaf. No; with most profound attention As if 'twere started only for my sake : I've heard it all, and wonder at thy virtue. Am I the thing you fear? Here, here's my bosom, Ren. Though there be yet few hours 'twixt Search it with all your swords. Am I a traitor? them and ruin,
Ren. No; but í fear your late commended Are not the senate lulled in full security,
friend Quiet and satisfied, as fools are always? Is little less. Come, sirs,'tis now no time Never did so profound repose fore-run
To trifle with our safety. Where's this Jaffier ? Calamity so great. Nay, our good fortune Spin. He left the room just now in strange Has blinded the most piercing of mankind,
disorder. Strengthened the fearfullest, charmed the most Ren. Nay, there is danger ia him; I observed suspectful,
him; VOL. I.
During the time I took for explanation, Less than thou darest be honest.
Faugh! how that stinks! Thou die! thou bi Yet in our power: I, for my own part, wear A dagger
Or thou! or thou! with that lean withered face! Pier. Well.
Away, disperse all to your several charges, Ren. And I could wish it
And meet to-morrow where your honour calls Pier. Where?
you. Ren. Buried in his heart.
I'll bring that man, whose blood you so much Pier. Away! we're yet all friends;
thirst for, No more of this, 'twill breed ill blood among us. And you shall see him venture for you fairlsSpin. Let us all draw our swords, and search Hence! hence, I say. (Exit Renault angrils. the house,
Spin. I fear we have been to blame, Pull him from the dark hole, where he sits brood And done too much. ing
Theo. 'Twas too far urged against the man you O'er his cold fears, and each man kill his share
loved. of him.
Rev. Here, take our swords, and crush them Pier. Who talks of killing? Who's he'll shed
with your feet. the blood,
Spin. Forgive us, gallant friend. That's dear to me?' is't you, or you, or you, sir? Pier. Nay, now you've found What, not one speak! how you stand, gaping all The way to melt, and cast me as you will. On your grave oracle, your wooden god there! I'll fetch this friend, and give him to your mercy: Yet not a word! Then, sir, I'll tell you a secret; Nay, he shall die, if you will take him from me Suspicion's but at best a coward's virtue. For your repose, I'll quit my heart's best jewei
[To Ren. But would not have hím torn away by villains, Ren. A coward ! (Handles his sword. And spiteful villany. Picr. Put up thy sword, old man;,
Spin. No, may you both Thy hand shakes at it. Come, let's heal this For ever live, and fill the world with fame. breach;
Pier. Now ye are too kind. Whence rose all I am too hot, we yet may all live friends.
this discord ? Spin. Till we are safe, our friendship cannot Oh, what a dangerous precipice have we 'scaped!
How near a fall was all we had long been buildPier. Again! Who's that?
ing! Spin. 'Twas I.
What an eternal blot had stained our glories, Theo, And I.
If one, the bravest and the best of men, Ren. And I.
Had fallen à sacrifice to rash suspicion, Omnes. And all.
Butchered by those, whose cause he came to che Ren. Who are on my side?
rish! Spin. Every honest sword.
Oh! could you know him all, as I have know Let's die like men, and not be sold like slaves. Pier. One such word more, by heaven I'll to How good he is, how just, how true, how brave, the senate,
You would not leave this place till you had seen And hang ye all, like dogs, in clusters.
him; Why peep your coward swords half out their Humbled yourselves before him, kissed his feet, shells ?
And gained remission for the worst of follies. Why do you not all brandish them like mine?
Come but to-morrow, all your doubts shall end You fear to die, and yet dare talk of killing! And to your loves me better recommend,
Ren. Go to the senate, and betray us! haste ! That I've preserved your fame, and saved my Secure thy wretched life: we fear to die
SCENE I.-The Rialto.
Methinks I tread upon some mangled limb
Bel. To eternal honour.
That have saved sinking nations. Thy renown Do a damn'd deed; perhaps may lay a train Shall be the future song of all the virgins, To catch thy life: Then where will be revenge, Who, by thy piety, have been preserved
The dear revenge, that's due to such a wrong? From horrid violation. Every street
Jaf. By all heaven's powers, prophetic truth Shall be adorned with statues to thy honour ;
dwells in thee! And at thy feet this great inscription written, For every word thou speak’st strikes through my Remember him, that propped the fall of Venice.
heart, Jaf. Rather, remember him, who, after all Like a new light, and shews it how't has wanThe sacred bonds of oaths, and holier friendship,
dered. In fond compassion to a woman's tears, Just what thou'st made me, take me, Belvidera, Forgot his manhood, virtue, truth, and honour, And lead me to the place, where I am to say To sacrifice the bosom, that relieved him. This bitter lesson; where I must betray Why wilt thou damn me?
My truth, my virtue, constancy, and friends. u Bel. Oh, inconstant man!
Must I betray my friend ? Ah! take me quickly How will you promise! how will you deceive! Secure me well before that thought's renewed; Do, return back, replace me in my bondage, If I relapse once more, all's lost for ever. Tell all thy friends how dangerously thou lov'st me,
Bel. Hast thou a friend more dear than Belvi. And let thy dagger do its bloody office.
dera? Oh! that kind dagger, Jaffier, how 'twill look Jaf. No: thou’rt my soul itself; wealth, friendStruck through my heart, drenched in my blood
ship, honour, to the hilt!
present joys, and earnest of all future, Whilst these poor dying eyes shall, with their tears, Are summed 'in thee. Methinks, when in thy No more torment thee; then thou wilt be free:
arms, s'Or, if thou think'st it nobler, let me live, Thus leaning on thy breast, one minute's more till I'm a victim to the hateful lust
Than a long thousand years of vulgar hours. Of that infernal devil, that old fiend,
Why was such happiness not given me pure? That's damn’d himself, and would undo mankind. Why dashed with cruel wrongs, and bitter warnLast night, my love!
ings? Jaf. Name it not again!
Come, lead me forward, now, like a tame lamb t shews & beastly image to my fancy,
To sacrifice. Thus, in his fatal garlands Will wake me into madness. 'Oh, the villain! Decked fine and pleased, the wanton skips and Chat durst approach such purity as thine
plays, In ternis so vile: Destruction, swift destruction, Trots by the enticing flattering priestess' side, all on my coward head, and make my name And much transported with its little pride, The common scorn of fools, if I forgive him! Forgets his dear companions of the plain ; TI forgive him? If I not revenge
Till, by her bound, he's on the altar lain, With utmost rage, and most unstaying fury, Yet then too hardly bleats, such pleasure's in the Thy sufferings, thou dear darling of my life.
pain. Bel. Delay no longer then, but to the senate, Ind tell the dismallest story ever uttered:
Enter Officer and Sir Guards. Tell them what bloodshed, rapines, desolations, Offi. Stand! who goes there? lave been prepared: how near’s the fatal hour. Bel. Friends. Save thy poor country, save the reverend blood Jaf. Friends, Belvidera! Hide me from my Of all its nobles, which to-inorrow's dawn
friends! Must else see shed. Save the poor tender lives By Heaven, I would rather see the face of hell, Of all those little infants, which the swords
Than meet the man I love. Of murderers are whetting for this moment.
Offi. But what friends are you? Think, thou already hear'st their dying screams;
Bel. Friends to the senate, and the state of Think, that thou seest their sad distracted mo
. My orders are to seize on all I find Kneeling before thy feet, and begging pity
At this late hour, and bring them to the council, With torn dishevelled hair, and streaming eyes,
Who are now sitting. Their naked mangled breasts besıneared with Jaf. Sir, you shall be obeyed. blood,
stand off! none of your paws upon me. And even the milk, with which their fondled babes Now, the lot's cast, and, Fate, do what thou wilt. Softly they hushed, dropping in anguish from them;
(Exeunt guardedo Think thou seest this,
and then consult thy heart.
The Senate-House, where appear sitting the Duke Murder and rapine, waste, and desolation,
of VENICE, PRIULI, ANTONIO, and eight other
Senators. Confusedly raging: Think, what then may prove My lot; the ravisher may then come safe, Duke. Antony, Priuli, senators of Venice, And, 'midst the terror of the public ruin, Speak, why are we assembled here this night!
What have you to inform us of, concerns Into confessions: but a steady mind
Again, by heaven I'll shut these lips for ever. Fathers, these tears were useless; these sad tears, Not all your racks, your engines, or your wheels That fall from my old eyes;
but there is cause Shall force a groan away, that you may guess it. We all should weep, tear off these purple robes, Ant. A bloody-minded fellow, I'll warrant; 1 And wrap ourselves in sackcloth, sitting down damn'd bloody-minded fellow. On the sad earth, and cry aloud to heaven : Duke. Name your conditions. Heaven knows, if yet there be an hour to come, Juf. For myself full pardon, Ere Venice be no more.
Besides the lives of two and twenty friends, All Sen, How !
Whose names are here enrolled-Nay, let the Pri. Nay, we stand
crimes Upon the very brink of gaping ruin.
Be ne'er so monstrous, I must have the oaths Within this city's formed a dark conspiracy, and sacred promise of this reverend coud, To massacre us all, our wives and children, That in a full assembly of the senate, Kindred and friends, our palaces and temples The thing I ask be ratified. Swear this, To lay in ashes; nay, the hour too fixed; And I'll unfold the secret of your danger. The swords, for aught I know, drawn e'en this
Al. We'll swear.
Duke. Propose the oath.
Ye have of peace and happiness hereafter,
All. We all swear.
A noise without. Ye swear.
All. We swear. Sen. Let us raise the city.
Jaf. And, as ye keep the oath,
and your posterity be blessed, Enter Officer and Guards.
Or cursed for ever. Duke. Speak, there. What disturbance ? · All. Else be cursed for ever. Offi. Two prisoners have the guards seized in Jaf. Then here's the list, and withit the the street,
disclose Who say, they come to inform this reverend senate Of all, that threatens you.- (Delivers a f About the present danger.
Now, Fate, thou hast caught me.
Ant. Why, what a dreadful catalogue of ex Enter JAFFIER and Officer.
ting throats is here! I'll warrant you, not osed All. Give them entrance—'Well, who are you? these fellows but has a face like a lion. I det Jaf. A villain.
not so inuch as read their names over. Ant. Short and pithy.
Duke. Give order, that all diligent search be The man speaks well.
made Jaf. Would every man, that hears me, To seize these men : their characters are publice Would deal so honestly, and own his title. The paper intimates their rendezvous Duke. 'Tis rumoured, that a plot has been To be at the house of a famed Grecian courtes contrived
Called Aquilina ; see that place secured. Against this state; and you've a share in't too, You, Jaffier, must with patience bear, till mornas, If you're a villain, to redeem your honour To be our prisoner. Unfold the truth, and be restored with mercy. Jaf. Would the chains of death Jaf. Think not, that I to save my life came hi- | Had bound me safe, e'er I had known this minute!
I've done a deed will make my story hereafter I know its value better; but in pity
Quoted in competition with all ill ones: To all those wretches, whose unhappy dooms The history of my wickedness shall run Are fixed and sealed. You see me here before you, Down through the low traditions of the vulse", The sworn and covenanted foe of Venice: And boys be taught to tell the tale of Jaffier. But use me as my dealings may deserve,
Duke. Captain, withdraw your prisoner. And I may prove a friend.
Jaf. Sir, if possible, Duke. The slave capitulates !
Lead me, where my own thoughts themselves Give him the torture!
may lose me; Juf. That you dare not do :
Where I may doze out what I've left of life, Your fears wont let you, nor the longing itch Forget myself, and this day's guilt and falsebok To hear a story, which you dread the truth of- Cruel remembrance ! how shall I appease the Truth, which the fear of smart shall ne'er get
[Eril guerst from me.
Offi. [Without.] More traitors ; room, nous Cowards are scared with threatenings; boys are
room, make room there. whipt
Duke. How's this ? guards !