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I. Ber. My lord, you are much moved : it is not now That such things must be dwelt upon. Doge. Your patience A moment — I recede not : mark with me The gloomy vices of this government. From the hour they made me Doge, the Doge THEY made me— Farewell the past ! I dicol to all that had been, Or rather they to me: no friends, no kindness, No privacy of life—all were cut off: They came not near me, such approach gave umbrage; They could not love me, such was not the law; They thwarted me, 't was the state's policy; They baffled me, 'twas a patrician's duty; They wrong'd me, for such was to right the state; They could not right me, that would give suspicion; So that I was a slave to my own subjects; So that I was a foe to my own friends; Begirt with spies for guards—with robes for power— With pomp for freedom—gaolers for a council— Inquisitors for friends—and hell for life I had one only fount of quiet left, And that they poison'd : My pure household gods Were shiver'd on my hearth, and o'er their shrine Sate grinning Ribaldry and sneering Scorn. I. Ber. You have been deeply wrong'd, and now shall be Nobly avenged before another night. Doye. I had borne all—it hurt me, but I bore it— Till this last running over of the cup Of bitterness—until this last loud insult, Not only unredress'd, but sanction'd; then, And thus, I cast all further feelings from me – The feelings which they crush'd for me, long, long Before, even in their oath of false allegiance 1 Even in that very hour and vow, they abjured Their friend and made a sovereign, as boys make Playthings, to do their pleasure—and be broken I I from that hour have seen but senators In dark suspicious conflict with the Doge, Brooding with him in mutual hate and fear; They dreading he should snatch the tyranny From out their grasp, and he abhorring tyrants. To me, then, these men have no private life, Nor claim to ties they have cut off from others; As senators for arbitrary acts Amenable, I look on thern-as such Let them be dealt upon." Cal. And now to action : Hence, brethren, to our posts, and may this be
(“I could have forgiven the dagger or the bowl, any thing, but the deliberate desolation piled upon me, when I stood alone upon my hearth, with my household gods shivered around me. Do you suppose I have forgotten or forgiven it 2 It has, comparatively, swallowed up in me every other feeling, and t an only a spectator upon earth till a tenfold opportunity offers. It may come yet." – Byron Letters, 1819.
* (The struggle of feelings with which the Doge undertakes the conspiracy is admirably contrasted with the ferocious eagerness of his low-born associates; and only loses its effect, because we cannot but be sensible that the man who felt thus could not have gone on with his guilty project, unless stimulated by some greater and more accumulated injuries than are, in the course of the tragedy, brought before the perception of the reader. - Heugh.J
* [“Nor turn aside to strike at such a †—Ms.
“[the great defect of Marino Faliero is, that the nature and character of the conspiracy excite no interest. It matters little that Lord Byron has been faithful to history, if the event ls destitute of a poetic character. Like Alfieri, to whom
The last night of mere words: I'd fain be doing!
This day and night shall be the last of peril 1
Watch for the signal, and then march. I go
in many so his genius approximates, he is settered by an intractable story, which is wholly remote from the instincts and feelings of mankind. How elevated soever may be, his diction, how vivid soever his colouring, a moral truth is wanting — that charm, so difficult to define, so easy to ap[..." which, diffused over the scene, excites in generous
osoms an exalted enthusiasm for the great interests of humanity. This is the poesy of history. It is the charm of the William Tell of Schiller; it is felt in the awful plot of Brutus, and, to a certain degree, in the conspiracy of Pierre and Jaffier; for the end and purpose of these conspiracles were, to redeem their country from insult, and oppression. But in Marino Faliero's attempt against the state, we contemplate nothing but the project of a sanguinary ruthian seeking to grasp unlimited authority, and making, after the established precedents of all usurpers, the wrongs and sufferings of the commonalty his pretence ; while, in another aspect of his character, we see him goaded, by an imagined injury, into an enterprise which would have inundated Venice with her best blood. Is this a sublime spectacle, calculated to purge the mind, according to the abhorism of Aristotle, by means of terror or pity ? – Ecl. Rev.
A name immortal greater than the greatest: Free citizens have struck at kings ere now ; Caesars have fallen, and even patrician hands Have crush'd dictators, as the popular steel Has reach'd patricians: but, until this hour, What prince has plotted for his people's freedom 7 Or risk’d a life to liberate his subjects 2 For ever, and for ever, they conspire Against the people, to abuse their hands To chains, but laid aside to carry weapons Against the fellow nations, so that yoke On yoke, and slavery and death may whet, Not glut, the never-gorged Leviathan 1 Now, my lord, to our enterprise ; – 'tis great, And greater the reward ; why stand you rapt 2 A moment back, and you were all impatience 1 Doge. And is it then decided ? must they die 2 I. Ber. Who? Doge. My own friends by blood and courtesy, And many deeds and days — the senators 2 I. Ber. You pass'd their sentence, and it is a just one. Doge. Ay, so it seems, and so it is to you ; You are a patriot, plebeian Gracchus— The rebel's oracle, the people's tribune— I blame you not—you act in your vocation ; They smote you, and oppress'd you, and despised you; So they have me : but you ne'er spake with them ; You never broke their bread, nor shared their salt; You never had their wine-cup at your lips; You grew not up with them, nor laugh'd, nor wept, Nor held a revel in their company; Ne'er smiled to see them smile, nor claim'd their smile In social interchange for yours, nor trusted Nor wore them in your heart of hearts, as I have : These hairs of mine are grey, and so are theirs, The elders of the council: I remember When all our locks were like the raven's wing, As we went forth to take our prey around The isles wrung from the false Mahometan ; And can I see them dabbled o'er with blood 2 Each stab to them will seen my suicide. " I. Ber. Doge : Doge ; this vacillation is unworthy A child ; if you are not in second childhood, Call back your nerves to your own purpose, nor Thus shame yourself and me. By heavens ! I'd rather Forego even now, or fail in our intent, Than see the man I venerate subside From high resolves into such shallow weakness: You have seen blood in battle, shed it, both Your own and that of others; can you shrink then From a few drops from veins of hoary vampires, Who but give back what they have drain'd from millions 2 Doge. Bear with me : Step by step, and blow on blow, I will divide with you; think not I waver: Ah! no ; it is the certainty of all Which I must do doth make me tremble thus.
* [The unmix’d selfishness of the motives with which the Dose acredes to the plot perpetually escares him. Not that he is wholly untouched by the computictious visitings of nature. But the fearful unity of such a character is broken by assigning to it the throbbings and the pangs of human feelings, and by making him recoil with affrisht from slaughter and desolation. In the roar and whirlwind of the mighty passions which precede the acting of a dreadful plot, it is wholly unreasonable and out of secring to put into his mouth the sentimental effusions of affectionate pity for his friends,
But let these last and lingering though's have way,
whom he thinks of rather too late to give these touches of remorse and mercy any other character than that of hypocritical whining. The sentiments are certainly good. but lanentably out of time and place, and remind of Scarron's remark upon the moralizing Phlesyas in the infernal resions.—
* Cette sentence est vrai et belie,
Mais dans enfer de quoi sert-elle 2"
Yet, though wholly repugnant to dramatic congruity, the passage has great poetic power. — Ect. Rce-l
Act IV. schen E. I.
Lioni. I will to rest, right weary of this revel, The gayest we have held for many moons, And yet, I know not why, it cheer'd me not; There came a heaviness across my heart, Which, in the lightest movement of the dance, Though eye to eye, and hand in hand united Even with the lady of my love, oppress'd me, And through my spirit chill'd my blood, until A damp like death rose o'er my brow; I strove To laugh the thought away, but 'twould not be: Through all the music ringing in my ears A knell was sounding as distinct and clear, Though low and far, as e'er the Adrian wave Rose o'er the city's murmur in the night, Dashing against the outward Lido's bulwark: So that I left the festival before It reach'd its zenith, and will woo my pillow For thoughts more tranquil, or forgetfulness. Antonio, take my mask and cloak, and light The launp within my chamber.
Ant. Yes, my lord: Command you no refreshment? Lioni. Nought, save sleep,
Which will not be commanded. Let me hope it,
1 sthe fourth act opens with the most poetical and brilliantly written scene in the play—though it is a soliloquy, and altogether alien from the business of the piece. ioni, a young nobleman, returns home from a splendid assembly, rather out of spirits; and, opening his palace window for air, contrasts the tranquillity of the night scene which lies hefore him, with the feverish turbulence and glittering enchantments of that which he has just quitted. Nothing can be finer than this picture, in both its compartments. There is a
On sallow cheeks and sunken eyes, which should not
truth and a luxuriance in the description of the rout, which mark at once the hand of a master, and raise it to a very high rank as a piece of poetical painting ; – while the moonlight view from the window is equally grand and beautiful, and reminds us of those magnificent and enchanting lookings forth in “Manfred,” which have left, we will contess, far deeper traces on our fancy, than anything in the more elaborate work before us. – Jeff REY.]
Of thy benign and quiet influence,—
Enter ANToNIo. Ant. My lord, a man without, on urgent business, Implores to be admitted. Lioni. Is he a stranger? Ant. His face is muffled in his cloak, but both His voice and gestures seem familiar to me; I craved his name, but this he seem'd reluctant To trust, save to yourself; most earnestly He sues to be permitted to approach you. Lioni. 'T is a strange hour, and a suspicious bearing ! And yet there is slight peril: 'tis not in Their houses noble men are struck at ; still, Although I know not that I have a foe In Venice, 't will be wise to use some caution. Admit him, and retire; but call up quickly Some of thy fellows, who may wait without. — Who can this man be 2 – [Erit ANToNio, and returns with BERTRAM muffled. Ber. My good lord Lioni, I have no time to lose, nor thou — dismiss This menial hence; I would be private with you. Lioni. It seems the voice of Bertram — Go, Antonio. [Erit ANToNio. Now, stranger, what would you at such an hour? Ber. (discovering himself). A boon, my noble patron; you have granted Many to your poor client, Bertram ; add This one, and make him happy. Lioni. Thou hast known mo From boyhood, ever ready to assist thee In all fair objects of advancement, which Beseem one of thy station ; I would promise Ere thy request was heard, but that the hour, Thy bearing, and this strange and hurried mode Of suing, gives me to suspect this visit Hath some mysterious import—but say on– What has occurred, some rash and sudden broil 2 – A cup too much, a scuffle, and a stab?— Mere things of every day; so that thou hast not Spilt noble blood, I guarantee thy safety; But then thou must withdraw, for angry friends And relatives, in the first burst of vengeance, Are things in Venice deadlier than the laws. Ber. My lord, I thank you; but Liont. But what ? You have not Raised a rash hand against one of our order 7 If so, withdraw and fly, and own it not; I would not slay — but then I must not save thee : He who has shed patrician blood Ber. I come To save patrician blood, and not to shed it ! And thereunto I must be speedy, for Each minute lost may lose a life; since Time Has changed his slow scythe for the two-edged sword,
! [This soliloquy is exquisite, and increases our regret that, with such powers of pleasing, Lord Byron should not always have condescended to please. — Heber.]
* The soliloquy of Lioni is a fine instance of repose, as the painters term #. amidst the horrors of the scene, and of that obscure but ruthless presentinent of evil, of which Shakspeare frequently made a use somewhat similar. Yet this splendid passage, with reference to the romantic character
Saw us together—happy, heart-full hours : ; Oh God the difference 'twixt those hours and this
And is about to take, instead of sand,
Lioni. Wherefore not? – What means this menace 2 Ber. Do not seek its meaning,
But do as I implore thee;—stir not forth,
Lioni. Bertram, 'tis thou who last forgotten them.
of the poem, is adventitious, and obviously transplanted from the mind of the poet. It is the habitual cast of thought, tinged with misanthropy, which is peculiar to Lord Byron, and does not adapt itself to the situation or feelings of the personages, of his poem. It is the cool contemplation of a mind raised above the storms of human life, and the perturbation of its passions, and viewing, as from “a peculiar mount,” the strife and conflicts of a world in which it disdains to mix. — Ecl. Rev.]
Ber. Nor now, nor ever; whatsoe'er betide, I would have saved you: when to manhood's growth We sprung, and you, devoted to the state, As suits your station, the more humble Bertram Was left unto the labours of the humble, Still you forsook me not; and if my fortunes Have not been towering, 'twas no fault of him Who ofttimes rescued and supported me When struggling with the tides of circumstance Which bear away the weaker: noble blood Ne'er mantled in a nobler heart than thine Has proved to me, the poor plebeian Bertram. Would that thy fellow senators were like thee I
Ilioni. Why, what hast thou to say against the
Lioni. I know that there are angry spirits
Ber. Rather shame and sorrow light
Ilioni. Some villains have been tampering with
thce, Bertram ;
This is not thy old language, nor own thoughts;
Ber. Sooner than spill thy blood, I peril mine; Sooner than harm a hair of thine, I place In jeopardy a thousand heads, and some As noble, nay, even nobler than thine own. Lioni. Ay, is it even so 7 Excuse me, Bertram; I am not worthy to be singled out From such exalted hecatombs—who are they That are in danger, and that make the danger? Ber. Venice, and all that she inherits, are Divided like a house against itself, And so will perish ere to-morrow's twilight ! Lioni. More mysteries, and awful ones | But now, Or thou, or I, or both, it may be, are Upon the verge of ruin; speak once out, And thou art safe and glorious; for 'tis more Glorious to save than slay, and slay i' the dark too— Fie, Bertram that was not a craft for thee . How would it look to see upon a spear The head of him whose heart was open to thee, Borne by thy hand before the shuddering people 2 And such may be my doom; for here I swear, Whate'er the peril or the penalty Of thy denunciation, I go forth, Unless thou dost detail the cause, and show The consequence of all which led thee here : Ber. Is there no way to save thee 7 minutes fly, And thou art lost 1–thou / my sole benefactor, The only being who was constant to me Through every change. Yet, make me not a traitor : Let me save thee—but spare my honour ! Lioni. Can lie the honour in a league of murder 2 And who are traitors save unto the state 2 Ber. A league is still a compact, and more binding In honest hearts when words must stand for law; And in my mind, there is no traitor like He whose domestic treason plants the poniard Within the breast which trusted to his truth. Lioni. And who will strike the steel to mine 2 Ber. Not I; I could have wound my soul up to all things Save this. Thou must not die 1 and think how dear Thy life is, when I risk so many lives, Nay, more, the life of lives, the liberty Of future generations, not to be The assassin thou miscall'st me; – once, once more I do adjure thee, pass not o'er thy threshold 1 Lioni. It is in vain — this moment I go forth. Ber. Then perish Venice rather than my friend I will disclose — ensnare — betray — destroy— Oh, what a villain I become for thee : Lioni. Say, rather thy friend's saviour and the state's 1– Speak — pause not — all rewards, all pledges for Thy safety and thy welfare; wealth such as The state accords her worthiest servants; nay, Nobility itself I guarantee thee, So that thou art sincere and penitent. Ber. I have thought again : it must not be—I love thee — Thou knowest it — that I stand here is the proof, Not least though last; but having done my duty By thee, I now must do it by my country I Farewell — we meet no more in life – farewell Lioni. What, hol — Antonio — Pedro — to the door : See that none pass — arrest this man :