« PreviousContinue »
And Steno's lie, couch'd in two worthless | Op grateful masses for Heaven's grace in lines,
snatching Hath decimated Venice, put in peril Our lives and country from thy wickedness. A senate which hath stood eight hundred The place wherein as Doge thoil shouldst years,
be painted, Discrown'd a prince, cut off his crownless With thine illustrious predecessors, is head,
To be left vacant, with a death-black veil And forged new fetters for a groaning people! Flung over these dim words engraved
Let the poor wretch, like to the courtesan beneath,
Ifit so please him— 'twere a pride fit for him! "Decapitated for his crimes."
Him, who, whate'er he now is, was a hero, But let it be so:-it will be in vain. = By the intrusion of his very prayers;
The veil which blackens o'er this blighted Nothing of good can come from such a source,
name, Nor would we aught with him, nor now, And hides, or seems to hide, these lineaments,
Shall draw more gazers than the thousand We leave him to himself, that lowest depth portraits Of human baseness. Pardon is for men, Which glitter round it in their pictured And not for reptiles- we have none for Steno,
trappingsAnd no resentment; things like him must Your delegated slaves—the people's tyrants ! sting,
“Decapitated for his crimes ! ” What And higher beings suffer; 'tis the charter
crimes ? Of life. The man who dies by the adder's Were it not better to record the facts, fang
So that the contemplator might approve, May have the crawler crush'd, but feels no Or at the least learn whence the crimes arose? anger:
When the beholder knows a Doge conspired, 'Twas the worm's nature; and some men Let him be told the cause-- it is your history.
Benint. Time must reply to that; our In soul, more than the living things of sons will judge tombs.
Their fathers' judgment, which I now Doge (to Benintende). Signor, complete pronounce.
that which you deem your duty, As Doge, clad in the ducal robes and cap, Benint. Before we can proceed upon that Thou shalt be led hence to the Giant's duty,
Staircase, We would request the princess to withdraw; Where thou and all our princes are invested; Twill move her too much to be witness to it. And there, the ducal crown being first Ang. I know it will, and yet I must
resumed endare it;
Upon the spot where it was first assumed, For 'tis a part of mine,I will not quit, Thy head shall be struck off; and Heaven Except by force, my husband's side. Proceed !
Upon thy soul! Nay, fear not either shriek, or sigh, or tear; Doge. Is this the Giunta's sentence ? Though my heart burst, is shall be silent.- Benint. It is. Speak!
Doge. I can endure it. And the time? Thave that within which shall o'ermaster all. Benint. Must be immediate.- Make thy Benint. Marino Faliero, Doge of Venice,
peace with God; Count of Val di Marino, Senator,
Within an hour thou must be in his presence. And some timeGeneral of the Fleet andArmy, Doge. I am already; and my blood will Noble Venetian, many times and oft
rise Entrusted by the state with high employ- To Heaven before the souls of those who ments,
shed it. Even to the highest, listen to the sentence: Are all my lands confiscated ? Convict by many witnesses and proofs, Benint. They are ; And by thine own confession, of the guilt And goods, and jewels, and all kind of of treachery and treason, yet unheard of
treasure, Until this trial - the decree is death. Except two thousand ducats - these disposeof. Thy goods are confiscate unto the state, Doge. That's harsh–I would have fain Thy name is razed from out her records, save reserved the lands Upon a public day of thanksgiving Near to Treviso, which I hold by investment For this our most miraculous deliverance, From Laurence the Count-bishop of Ceneda, When thou art noted in our calendars In fief perpetual to myself and heirs, With earthquakes, pestilence, and foreign To portion them (leaving my city-spoil,
My palace and my treasures, to your forfeit) And the great enemy of man, as subject Between my consort and my kinsmen.
Which yet remain of the accorded hour, Lle under the state's ban; their chief, thy Still falling -I have done with 'Time. nephew,
Ang. Alay! In peril of his own life; but the council And I have been the cause, the unconscions Postpones his trial for the present. If
cause; Thou will'st a state unto thy widow'd And for this funeral marriage, this black princess,
union, Fear not, for we will do her justice. Which thou, compliant with my father's Ang. Signors,
wish, I share not in your spoil! From henceforth, Didst promise at his death, thou hast seal'd know
thine own. I am devoted unto God alone,
Doge. Not so: there was that in my And take my refuge in the cloister.
spirit ever Doge. Come!
Which shaped out for itself some great The hour may be a hard one, but 'twill end.
reverse; Have I aught else to undergo save death ? | The marvel is, it came not until nowBenint. You have nought to do, except And yet it was foretold me. confess and die.
Ang. How foretold you ? The priest is robed, the scimitar is bare, Doge. Long years ago - so long, they And both await without.-But, above all, are a doubt Think not to speak unto the people; they In memory, and yet they live in annals: Are now by thousands swarming at the gates, When I was in my youth, and served the But these are closed: the Ten,the Avogadori, senate The Giunta, and the chief men of the Forty, And signory as podesta and captain Alone will be beholders of thy doom, Of the town of 'Treviso, on a day And they are ready to attend the Doge. Of festival, the sluggish bishop who Doge. The Doge!
Convey'd the Host aroused my rash young Benint. Yes, Doge, thou hast lived and
anger, thou shalt die
By strange delay, and arrogant reply A sovereign; till the moment which precedes To my reproof; I raised my hand and The separation of that head and trunk,
smote him, That ducal crown and head shall be united. Until he reeld beneath his holy burthen; Thou hast forgot thy dignity in deigning And as he rose from earth again, he raised To plot with petty traitors; not so we, His tremulous hands in pious wrath towards Who in the very punishment acknowledge
Heaven. The prince. Thy vile accomplices have died Thence pointing to the Host, which had The dog's death, and the wolf's; but thou fallen from him, shalt fall
He turn'd to me, and said, “The hour will As falls the lion by the hunters, girt By those who feel a proud compassion for When he thou hast o'erthrown shall overthee,
throw thee: And mourn even the inevitable death The glory shall depart from out thy house, Provoked by thy wild wrath, and regal The wisdom shall be shaken from thy soul, fierceness.
And in thy best maturity of mind Now we remit thee to thy preparation : A madness of the heart shall seize upon thee; Let it be brief, and we ourselves will be Passion shall tear thee when all passions Thy guides unto the place where first we
In other men, or mellow into virtues; United to thee as thy subjects, and And majesty, which decks all other heads, Thy senate; and must now be parted from thee Shall crown to leave thee headless ; honours As such for ever on the self-same spot. —
shall Guards! form the Doge's escort to his But prove to thee the heralds of destruction, chamber.
[Exeunt. And hoary hairs of shame,and both of death,
But not such death as fits an aged man.". SCENE II.— The Doge's Apartment.
Thus saying, he passid on. - That hour is The Doge as prisoner, and the Duchess Ang. And with this warning couldst thou attending him.
not have striven
To avert the fatal moment, and atone Doge. Now, that the priest is gone, 't were By penitence for that which thou hadst done? useless all
Doge. I own the words went to my To linger out the miserable minutes;
heart, so much But one pang more, the pang of parting That I remember'd them amid the maze from thee,
Of life, as if they form'd a sprctral voice: And I will leave the few last grains of sand, Which shook me in a supernatural dreami
And I repented; but 'twas not for me
Thou canst not have forgot what all remember,
That on my day of landing here as Doge,
Doge. And yet I find a comfort in The thought that these things are the work of Fate;
For I would rather yield to gods than men,
I know to be as worthless as the dust,
Of an o'er-ruling power; they in themselves Were all incapable-they could not be Victors of him who oft had conquer'd for them!
Ang. Employ the minutes left in aspirations
Of a more healing nature, and in peace Even with these wretches take thy flight to Heaven.
Doge. I am at peace: the peace of certainty That a sure hour will come, when their sons' sons,
And this proud city, and these azure waters, And all which makes them eminent and bright,
Shall be a desolation and a curse,
Ang. Speak not thus now; the surge of passion still
Sweeps o'er thee to the last; thou dost deceive
Doge. I stand within eternity, and see
Guard (coming forward). Doge of Venice,
Forgive the old man who hath been to thee
But thou canst judge of me more kindly now,
Which generally leave some flowers to
Even o'er the grave, I have nothing left,
A little love, or friendship, or esteem,
She hath no breath, no pulse! Guards!
I cannot leave her thus, and yet 'tis better,
One look!-how cold her hand! as cold as
Shall be ere she recovers.-Gently tend her,
[The Attendants of ANGIOLINA enter
SCENE III-The Court of the Ducal Palace: the outer gates are shut against the people. -The DOGE enters in his ducal robes, in procession with the Council of Ten and other Patricians, attended by the Guards till they arrive at the top of the "Giant's Staircase" (where the Doges took the oaths); the Executioner is stationed there with his sword. On arriving, a Chief of the Ten takes off the ducal cap from the Doge's head.
Doge. So, now the Doge is nothing, and at last
I am again Marino Faliero :
Tis well to be so, though but for a moment.
With how much more contentment I resign
One of the Ten. Thou tremblest, Faliero!
Compatible with justice, to the senate?
Benint. They shall be cared for; When thy patricians beg their bitter bread Even notwithstanding thine unheard-of In narrow streets, and in their shameful need crime.
Make their nobility a plea for pity! Doge. Unheard-of! ay, there's not a Then, when the few who still retain a wreck history
Of their great fathers' heritage shall fawn But shows a thousand crown'd conspirators Round a barbarian Vice of Kings' Vice Against the people; but to set them free
gerent, One sovereign only died, and one is dying. Even in the palace where they sway'd as Benint. And who are they who fell in sovereigns, such a cause?
Even in the palace where they slew their Doge. The King of Sparta, and the Doge sovereign, of Venice
Proud of some name they have disgraced, Agis and Faliero!
or sprung Benint. Hast thou more
From an adulteress boastful of her guilt To utter or to do?
With some large gondolier or foreign soldier, Doge. May I speak ?
Shall bear about their bastardy in triumph Benint. Thou mayst;
To the third spurious generation ;-when But recollect the people are without, Thy sons are in the lowest scale of being, Beyond the compass of the human voice. Slaves turn'd o'er to the vanquish'd by the
Doge. I speak to Time and to Eternity, victors, Of which I grow a portion, not to man. Despised by cowards for greater cowardice, Ye elements ! in which to be resolved And scorn'd even by the vicious for such vices I hasten, let my voice be as a spirit As in the monstrous grasp of their conception Upon you! Ye blue waves! which bore Defy all codes to image or to name them; my banner,
Then, when of Cyprus, now thy subject Ye winds! which flutter'd o’er as if you kingdom, loved it,
All thine inheritance shall be her shame And fill'd iny swelling sails as they were Entailid on thy less virtuour daughters, wafted
grown To many a triumph! Thou, my native earth, A wider proverb for worse prostitution;Which I have bled for, and thou foreign When all the ills of conquer'd states shall earth,
cling thee, Which drank this willing blood from many Vice without splendour, sin without relief a wound!
Even from the gloss of love to smooth it o'er, Ye stones, in which my gore will not sink, But in its stead coarse lusts of habitude. but
Prurient yet passionless, cold studied Reek np to Heaven ! Ye skies, which will lewdness, receive it!
Depraving nature': frailty to an art;Thou sun! which shinest on these things, when these and niore are heavy on thee, and Thou !
when Who kindlest and who quenchest suns! Smiles without mirth, and pastimes without Attest!
pleasure, I am not innocent - but are these guiltless? Youth without honour, age without respect, I perish, but not unavenged; far ages
Meanness and weakness, and
sense of woe Float up from the abyss of time to be, 'Gainst which thou wilt not strive, and And show these eyes, before they close,
dar'st not murmur, the doom
Have made thee last and worst of peopled Of this proud city, and I leave my curse
deserts: On her and hers for ever!-Yes, the hours Then, in the last gasp of thine agony, Are silently engendering of the day, Amidst thy many murders, think of mine! When she who built'gainst Attila a bulwark, Thou den of drunkards with the blood of Shall yield, and bloodlessly and basely yield princes ! Unto a bastard-Attila, without
Gehenna of the waters! thou sea-Sodom! Shedding so much blond in her last defence Thus I devote thee to the infernal gods! As these old veins,oft draind in shielding her, Thee and thy serpent-seed ! Shall pour in sacrifice. She shall be bought [Here the Dogk turns, and addresses And sold, and be an appanage to those
the Erecutioner. Who shall despise her!-She shall stoop to be Slave, do thine office; A province for an empire, petty town Strike as I struck the foe! Strike as I would In lieu of capital, with slaves for senates, Have struck those tyrants! Strike deep as Beggars for nobles, panders for a people!
my curse! Then, when the Hebrew 's in thy palaces, Strike-and but once! The Hun in thy high places, and the Greek (The Doge throws himself upon his Walke o'er thy mart, and smiles on it
knees, and as the Erecutioner raises for his
his sword the scene closcs.
SCENE IV.-The Piazza and Piazzetta of 2 Saint Mark's.-The People in crowds gathered round the grated gates of the Ducal Palace, which are shut.
I cannot hear him. How his hoary hair
SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART.
Fifth Citizen. Wisely they did to keep their portals barr'd. Would we had known the work they were preparing
The following scenes Mystery," in conformity with the ancient title annexed to dramas upon similar subjeets, which were styled Mysteries, or Moralities. The author has by no means
Ere we were summon'd here; we would have brought
Weapons, and forced them!
Sixth Citizen. Are you sure he's dead? First Citizen. I saw the sword fall-Lo! what have we here?
Enter on the Balcony of the_Palace which fronts Saint Mark's Place a CHIEF OF THE TEN, with a bloody sword. He waves it thrice before the People, and exclaims,
e foam upon the The gory head rolls down the "Giant's [The curtain falls.
"Justice hath dealt upon the mighty Traitor!"
"Now the Serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field
[The gates are opened; the populace rush in towards the "Giani'sStaircase," where the execution has taken place. The foremost of them exclaims to those behind,
taken the same liberties with his subject which were common formerly, as may be seen by any reader curious enough to refer to those very profane productions, whether in English, French, Italian, or Spanish. The author has endeavoured to preserve the language adapted to his characters; and where it is (and this is but rarely) taken from actual Scripture, he has made as little alteration, even of words, as the rhythm would permit. The reader will recollect are entitled "a that the book of Genesis does not state that
Eve was tempted by a demon, but by "the Serpent;" and that only because he was "the most subtil of all the beasts of the field." Whatever interpretation the Rabbins