صور الصفحة
PDF

Enter ANToNio and other armed Domestics, who seize BERTRAM.

Lioni (continues). Take care He hath no harm ; bring me my sword and cloak ; And man the gondola with four oars — quick —

[Erit Astonio.

We will unto Giovanni Gradenigo's,
And send for Marc Cornaro; – fear not, Bertram ;
This needful violence is for thy safety,
No less than for the general weal.

Ber. Where wouldst thou Bear me a prisoner *

Lioni. Firstly to “the Ten; ” Next to the Doge.

Ber. To the Doge 2

Lioni. Assuredly : Is he not chief of the state 7

Ber. Perhaps at sunrise—

1.ioni. What mean you? — but we'll know anon.

Ber. Art sure ?

Lioni. Sure as all gentle means can make ; and if They fail, you know “the Ten” and their tribunal, And that St. Mark's has dungeons, and the dungeons A rack.

Ber. Apply it then before the dawn Now hastening into heaven.—One more such word, And you shall perish piecemeal, by the death You think to doom to me.

Re-enter ANToxio.

Ant. The bark is ready, My lord, and all prepared. Lioni. Look to the prisoner.

Bertram, I'll reason with thee as we go
To the Magnifico's, sage Gradenigo. [Ereunt.

scene ii. The Ducal Palace. The Doge's Apartment.

The Doge and his nephew BERTuccio FALIERo.

Doge. Are all the people of our house in muster?

Ber. F. They are array'd, and eager for the signal, Within our palace precincts at San Polo. 1 I come for your last orders.

Doge. It had been As well had there been time to have got together, From my own fief, Val di Marino, more Of our retainers—but it is too late.

Ber. F. Methinks, my lord, 'tis better as it is: A sudden swelling of our retinue Had waked suspicion; and, though fierce and trusty, The vassals of that district are too rude And quick in quarrel to have long maintain'd The secret discipline we need for such A service, till our foes are dealt upon.

Doge. True; but when once the signal has been These are the men for such an enterprise; [given, These city slaves have all their private bias, Their prejudice against or for this noble, which may induce them to o'erdo or spare where mercy may be madness; the fierce peasants, Serfs of my county of Val di Marino, Would do the bidding of their lord without Distinguishing for love or hate his foes; Alike to them Marcello or Cornaro,

* The Doge's family palace.

A Gradenigo or a Foscari;
They are not used to start at those vain names,
Nor bow the knee before a civic senate;
A chief in armour is their Suzerain,
And not a thing in robes.

Ber. F. We are enough;
And for the dispositions of our clients
Against the senate I will answer.

Doge. Well,
The die is thrown; but for a warlike service,
Done in the field, commend me to my peasants:
They made the sun shine through the host of Huns
When sallow burghers slunk back to their tents,
And cower'd to hear their own victorious trumpet.
If there be small resistance, you will find
These citizens all lions, like their standard;
But if there's much to do, you'll wish, with me,
A band of iron rustics at our backs.

Ber. F. Thus thinking, I must marvel you resolve To strike the blow so suddenly.

Doge. Such blows Must be struck suddenly or never. When I had o'ermaster'd the weak false remorse Which yearn’d about Iny heart, too fondly yielding A noment to the feelings of old days, I was most fain to strike; and, firstly, that I might not yield again to such emotions; And, secondly, because of all these men, Save Israel and Philip Calendaro, I know not well the courage or the faith: To-day might find 'mongst them a traitor to us, As yesterday a thousand to the senate; But once in, with their hilts hot in their hands, They must on for their own sakes; one stroke struck, And the mere instinct of the first-born Cain, Which ever lurks somewhere in human hearts, Though circumstance may keep it in abeyance, Will urge the rest on like to wolves; the sight Of blood to crowds begets the thirst of more, As the first wine-cup leads to the long revel; And you will find a harder task to quell Than urge them when they hare commenced, but till That moment, a mere voice, a straw, a shadow, Are capable of turning them aside. — How goes the night?

Ber. F. Almost upon the dawn.

JDoge. Then it is time to strike upon the bell. Are the men posted 7

Ber. F. By this time they are; But they have orders not to strike, until They have command from you through me in person.

Doge. "Tis well.—Will the morn never put to rest These stars which twinkle yet o'er all the heavens 7 I am settled and bound up, and being so, The very effort which it cost me to Resolve to cleanse this conimonwealth with fire, Now leaves my mind more steady. I have wept, And trembled at the thought of this dread duty; But now I have put down all idle passion, And look the growing tempest in the face, As doth the pilot of an admiral galley : Yet (wouldst thou think it, kinsman 2) it hath been A greater struggle to me, than when nations Beheld their fate merged in the approaching fight, Where I was leader of a phalanx, where Thousands were sure to perish – Yes, to spill The rank polluted current from the veins Of a few bloated despots needed more

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

To steel one to a purpose such as made
Timoievon immortal, than to face
The tools and danzers of a life of war.

Ber. F. It gladdens me to see your former wisdom
Subdue the furies which so wrung you ere
You were decided.

Dove. It was ever thus With me; the hour of agitation came In the first glimmerings of a purpose, when Passion had too much room to sway; but in The hour of action I have stood as calmn As were the dead who lay around me: this They knew who made me what I am, and trusted To the subduing power which I preserved Over my nood, when its first burst was spent. But they were not aware that there are things Which make revenge a virtue by reflection, And not an impulse of mere anger; though The laws sleep, justice wakes, and injured souls Oft do a public right with private wrong, And justify their deeds unto themselves. Methinks the day breaks—is it not so? look, Thine eyes are clear with youth ; — the air puts on A morning freshness, and, at least to me, The sea looks greyer through the lattice.

Ber. F. True, The morn is dappling in the sky. Doge. Away then :

See that they strike without delay, and with
The first toll from St. Mark's, march on the palace
With all our house's strength : here I will meet
you-
The Sixteen and their companies will move
In separate columns at the self-same moment—
Be sure you post yourself at the great gate:
I would not trust “the Ten" except to us —
The rest, the rabble of patricians, may
Glut the more careless swords of those leagued with us.
Remember that the cry is still “Saint Mark :
The Genoese are come—ho to the rescue !
Saint Mark and Liberty 1"—Now — now to action 1
Ber. F. Farewell then, noble uncle : we will mect
In freedom and true sovereignty, or never !
Doye. Come hither, my Bertuccio — one embrace—
Speed, for the day grows broader—Send me soon
A messenger to tell me how all goes
When you rejoin our troops, and then sound—sound
The storm-bell from Saint Mark's 1
[Erit Bertuccio FAli Eno.
Doge (solus). He is gone, 2
And on each footstep moves a life. —'T is done.
Now the destroying angel hovers o'er
Venice, and pauses ere he pours the vial,
Even as the eagle overlooks his prey,
And for a moment, poised in middle air,
Suspends the motion of his mighty wings,
Then swoops with his unerring beak. — Thou day !
That slowly walk'st the waters! march — march on —
I would not smite i' the dark, but rather see
That no stroke errs. And you, ye blue sea-waves :

t [" The night is clearing from the sky.”— MS.]

* (At last the moment arrives when the bell is to be sounded, and the whole of the conspiring bands are watching in imso for the signal. The o: of the Doge, and the leir of his house (for he is childless), leaves Faliero in his Pali.ee, and goes to strike with his own hand the fatal summons. 'I he Doge is left alone ; and English poetry, we think, contains few passages superior to that which follows. -Luckuaar.]

I have seen you dyed ere now, and deeply too,
With Genoese, Saracen, and Hunnish gore,
While that of Venice flow'd too, but victorious;
Now thou must wear an unmix'd crimson; no
Barbaric blood can reconcile us now
Unto that horrible incarnadine,
But friend or foe will roll in civic slaughter.
And have I lived to fourscore years for this?
I, who was named Preserver of the City ?
I, at whose name the million's caps were flung
Into the air, and cries from tens of thousands
Rose up, imploring Heaven to send me blessings,
And fame, and length of days— to see this day ?
But this day, black within the calendar,
Shall be succeeded by a bright millennium.
Doge Dandolo survived to ninety summers
To vanquish empires, and refuse their crown;
I will resign a crown, and make the state
Renew its freedom—but oh by what means ?
The noble end must justify them — What
Are a few drops of human blood 2 'tis false,
The blood of tyrants is not human ; they,
Like to incarnate Molochs, feed on ours,
Until 'tis time to give them to the tombs
Which they have made so populous. – Oh world !
Oh men what are ye, and our best designs,
That we must work by crime to punish crime 2
And slay as if Death had but this one gate,
When a few years would make the sword superfluous 7
And I, upon the verge of th' unknown realm,
Yet send so many heralds on before me 7 —
I must not ponder this. [4 pause.
Hark I was there not
A murmur as of distant voices, and
The tramp of feet in martial unison 7
What phantoms even of sound our wishes raise :
It cannot be — the signal hath not rung–
Why pauses it 2 My nephew's messenger
Should be upon his way to me, and he
Himself perhaps even now draws grating back
Upon its ponderous hinge the steep tower portal,
Where swings the sullen huge oracular bell, 3
Which never knells but for a princely death,
Or for a state in peril, pealing forth
Tremendous bodements; let it do its office,
And be this peal its awfullest and last.
Sound till the strong tower rock I — What! silent
still 7
I would go forth, but that my post is here,
To be the centre of re-union to
The oft discordant elements which form
Leagues of this nature, and to keep compact
The wavering of the weak, in case of conflict;
For if they should do battle, 't will be here,
Within the palace, that the strife will thicken :
Then here must be my station, as becomes
The master-mover. —— Hark! he comes — he comcs,
My nephew, brave Bertuccio's messenger. —
What tidings 2 Is he marching? hath he sped 2 –
They here ! —all's lost—yet will I make an effort. “

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

Enter a Sigson of the Night", with Guards, &c. &c. Sig. Doge, I arrest thee of high treason : Doge. Me 1 Thy prince, of treason 2–Who are they that dare Cloak their own treason under such an order? Sig. (showing his order). Behold my order from the assembled Ten. Doge. And where are they, and why assembled 2 no Such council can be lawful, till the prince Preside there, and that duty's mine : on thine I charge thee, give me way, or marshal me To the council chamber. Sig. Duke 1 it may not be: Nor are they in the wonted Hall of Council, But sitting in the convent of Saint Saviour's. Doge. You dare to disobey me, then 2 Sig. I serve The state, and needs must serve it faithfully ; My warrant is the will of those who rule it. Doge. And till that warrant has my signature It is illegal, and, as now applied, Rebellious–Hast thou weigh’d well thy life's worth, That thus you dare assume a lawless function ? 2 Sig. 'Tis not my office to reply, but act.— I am placed here as guard upon thy person, And not as judge to hear or to decide. Doge (aside). I must gain time—So that the storm-bell sound [speed:— All may be well yet. — Kinsman, speed—speed – Our fate is trembling in the balance, and Woe to the vanquish'd : be they prince and people, Or slaves and senate – [The great bell of Saint Mark's tolls. Lo it sounds—it tolls : (aloud.) Hark, Signor of the Night ! and you, ye hirelings, Who wield your mercenary staves in fear, It is your knell — Swell on, thou lusty peal : Now, knaves, what ransom for your lives 7 Sig. Confusion : Stand to your arms, and guard the door—all's lost Unless that fearful bell be silenced soon. The officer hath miss'd his path or purpose, Or met some unforeseen and hideous obstacle. 3 Anselmo, with thy company proceed Straight to the Tower; the rest remain with me. [Erit part of the Guard. Doge. Wretch if thou wouldst have thy vile life, implore it; It is not now a lease of sixty seconds. Ay, send thy miserable ruffians forth; They never shall return. Sig. So let it be : They die then in their duty, as will I. Doge. Fool the high eagle flies at nobler game Than thou and thy base myrmidons, – live on, So thou provok'st not peril by resistance, And learn (if souls so inuch obscured can bear To gaze upon the sunbeams) to be free. Sig. And learn thou to be captive — It hath ceased, [The bell ceases to toll. The traitorous signal, which was to have set

[merged small][ocr errors]

The bloodhound mob on their patrician prey—
The knell hath rung, but it is not the senate's :
Doge (after a pause). All's silent, and all 's lost :
Sig. Now, Doge, denounce me
As rebel slave of a revolted council :
Have I not done my duty 2
Doge. Peace, thou thing :
Thou hast done a worthy deed, and earn'd the price
Of blood, and they who use thee will reward thee.
But thou wert sent to watch and not to prate,
As thou saidst even now—then do thine office,
But let it be in silence, as behoves thee,
Since, though thy prisoner, I am thy prince.
Sig. I did not mean to fail in the respect
Due to your rank: in this I shall obey you.
Doge (aside). There now is nothing left me save
to die;
And yet how near success : I would have fallen,
And proudly, in the hour of triumph, but
To miss it thus !

Enter other SIGNorts of Tire Nicht, with BERTuccio
FALIERo prisoner.
2d Sig. We took him in the act
Of issuing from the tower, where, at his order,
As delegated from the Doge, the signal
Had thus begun to sound.
1st Sig. Are all the passes
which lead up to the palace well secured : [chiefs
2d Sig. They are—besides, it matters not; the
Are all in chains, and some even now on trial —
Their followers are dispersed, and many taken.
Ber. F. Uncle :
Doge. It is in vain to war with Fortune;
The Glory hath departed from our house.
Ber. F. Who would have deem'd it?–Ah! one
nonent sooner [of ages;
Doge. That moment would have changed the face
This gives us to eternity—We'll meet it
As men whose triumph is not in success,
But who can make their own minds all in all,
Equal to every fortune. Droop not, 'tis
But a brief passage—I would go alone,
Yet if they send us, as 'tis like, together,
Let us go worthy of our sires and selves.
Ber. F. I shall not shame you, uncle.
1st Sig. Lords, our orders
Are to keep guard on both in separate chambers,
Until the council call ye to your trial.
Doge. Our trial will they keep their mockery up
Even to the last 7 but let them deal upon us,
As we had dealt on them, but with less pomp.
'T is but a game of mutual homicides,
Who have cast lots for the first death, and they
Have won with false dice. —Who hath been our
Judas 2
1st Sig. I am not warranted to answer that.
Ber. F. I'll answerfor thee — 'tis a certain Bertram,
Even now deposing to the secret giunta. [tools
Doge. Bertram the Bergamask With what vile
We operate to slay or save : This creature,
Black with a double treason, now will earn
Rewards and honours, and be stamp'd in story
With the geese in the Capitol, which gabbled

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

scene 11.

[blocks in formation]

Till Rome awoke, and had an annual triumph,
While Manlius, who hurl’d down the Gauls, was cast!
From the Tarpeian.

1st Sig. He aspired to treason, And sought to rule the state.

Doge. He saved the state, And sought but to reform what he revived— But this is idle Come, sirs, do your work. [you

1st Sig. Noble Bertuccio, we must now remove Into an inner chamber.

Ber. F. Farewell, uncle ! If we shall meet again in life I know not, But they perhaps will let our ashes mingle.

Doge. Yes, and our spirits, which shall yet go forth, And do what our frail clay, thus clogg'd, hath fail'd in: They cannot quench the memory of those Who would have hurl’d them from their guilty thrones, And such examples will find heirs, though distant.

[ocr errors][merged small]

The Chief of the Ten, BENINtENDE. 3

Ben. There now rests, after such conviction of Their manifold and manifest offences, But to pronounce on these obdurate men The sentence of the law : —a grievous task To those who hear, and those who speak. Alas ! That it should fall to me ! and that my days Of office should be stigmatised through all The years of coming time, as bearing record To this most foul and complicated treason Against a just and free state, known to all The earth as being the Christian bulwark gainst The Saracen and the schismatic Greek, The savage Hun, and not less barbarous Frank ; A city which has open'd India's wealth To Europe; the last Roman refuge from O'erwhelming Attila; the ocean's queen; Proud Genoa's prouder rival 1 'Tis to sap The throne of such a city, these lost men Have risk’d and forfeited their worthless lives— So let them die the death.

I. Ber. We are prepared ; Your racks have done that for us. Let us die.

Ben. If ye have that to say which would obtain Abatement of your punishment, the Giunta Will hear you; if you have aught to confess, Now is your time, perhaps it may avail ye.

Ber. F. We stand to hear, and not to speak.

Ben. Your crimes Are fully proved by your accomplices, And all which circumstance can add to aid them;

"[" While Manlius, who hurl’d {{...} the Gauls,” &c. MS ] * I she fifth Act, which begins with the arraignment of the original conspirators, is much in the style of that of Pierre and his associates in the old play. After them, the Doge is

Yet we would hear from your own lips complete
Avowal of your treason : on the verge
Of that dread gulf which none repass, the truth
Alone can profit you on earth or heaven—
Say, then, what was your motive 7

I. Ber. Justice I

Ben. What Your object 7

I. Ber. Freedom I

Ben. You are brief, sir.

I. Ber. So my life grows: I Was bred a soldier, not a senator. Ben. Perhaps you think by this blunt brevity To brave your judges to postpone the sentence 2 I. Ber. Do you be brief as I am, and believe me, I shall prefer that mercy to your pardon. Ben. Is this your sole reply to the tribunal 2 I. Ber. Go, ask your racks what they have wrung from us, Or place us there again; we have still some blood left, And some slight sense of pain in these wrench'd limbs: But this ye dare not do; for if we die there — And you have left us little life to spend Upon your engines, gorged with pangs already— Ye lose the public spectacle, with which You would appal your slaves to further slavery Groans are not words, nor agony assent, Nor affirmation truth, if nature's sense Should overcome the soul into a lie, For a short respite—must we bear or die? Ben. Say, who were your accomplices 2

I. Ber. The Senate :
Ben. What do you mean?
I. Ber. Ask of the suffering people,

Whom your patrician crimes have driven to crime.

JBen. You know the Doge 2

I. Ber. I served with him at Zara In the field, when you were pleading here your way To present office; we exposed our lives, While you but hazarded the lives of others, Alike by acceusation or defence; And, for the rest, all Venice knows her Doge, Through his great actions, and the Senate's insults.

Ben. You have held conference with him 2

I. Ber. I am weary — Even wearier of your questions than your tortures: I pray you pass to judgment.

Ben. It is coming.— And you, too, Philip Calendaro, what Have you to say why you should not be doom'd 7

Cal. I never was a man of many words, And now have few left worth the utterance.

Ben. A further application of yon engine
May change your tone.

Cal. Most true, it will do so;
A former application did so; but
It will not change my words, or, if it did—

Ben. What then 2

Cal. Will my avowal on yon rack Stand good in law 7 Ben. Assuredly.

brought in: his part is very forcibly written throughout. — JEFr REY.] • [• In the notes to Marino Faliero, it may be as well to say that Benintende was not really on the Ten, but merely Grand Chancellor – a separate otlice, though an important one. It was an arbitrary alteration of mine." Byron Letters..]

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Cal. Whoe'er The culprit be whom I accuse of treason 2 Ben. Without doubt, he will be brought up to trial. Cal. And on this testimony would he perish 2 Ben. So your confession be detail'd and full, He will stand here in peril of his life. Cal. Then look well to thy proud self, President : For by the eternity which yawns before me, I swear that thou, and only thou, shalt be The traitor I denounce upon that rack, If I be stretch'd there for the second time. One of the Giunta. Lord President, 't were best proceed to judgment; There is no more to be drawn from these men. Ben. Unhappy men prepare for instant death. The nature of your crime — our law — and peril The state now stands in, leave not an hour's respite— Guards ! lead them forth, and upon the balcony Of the red columns, where, on festal Thursday," The Doge stands to behold the chase of bulls, Let them be justified : and leave exposed Their wavering relics, in the place of judgment, To the full view of the assembled people : — And Heaven have mercy on their souls : The Giunta. Amen : I. Ber. Signors, farewell . we shall not all again Meet in one place. Ben. And lest they should essay To stir up the distracted multitude— Guards : let their mouths be gagg'do, even in the act Of execution. — Lead them hence 1 Cal. What must we Not even say farewell to some fond friend, Nor leave a last word with our confessor 2 Ben. A priest is waiting in the antechamber; But, for your friends, such interviews would be Painful to them, and useless all to you. Cal. I knew that we were gagg'd in life; at least All those who had not heart to risk their lives Upon their open thoughts; but still I deem'd That in the last few moments, the same idle Freedom of speech accorded to the dying, Would not now be denied to us; but since I. Ber. Even let them have their way, brave Calendaro ! What matter a few syllables? let's die Without the slightest show of favour from them; So shall our blood more readily arise To Heaven against them, and more testify To their atrocities, than could a volume Spoken or written of our dying words :

[blocks in formation]

Cal. Israel, hadst thou but hearken'd unto me It had not now been thus ; and yon pale villain, The coward Bertram, would — I. Ber. Peace, Calendaro ! What brooks it now to ponder upon this. Bert. Alas! I fain you died in peace with me; I did not seek this task; 't was forced upon me: Say, you forgive me, though I never can Retrieve my own forgiveness—frown not thus : I. Ber. I die and pardon thee I Cal. (spitting at him). * I die and scorn thee : LEreunt Israel Bestuccio and Philip CALENdARo, Guards, &c. Ben. Now that these criminals have been disposed of, 'T is time that we proceed to pass our sentence Upon the greatest traitor upon record In any annals, the Doge Faliero : The proofs and process are complete; the time And crime require a quick procedure: shall He now be call'd in to receive the award 2 The Giunta. Ay, ay. Ben. Avogadori, order that the Doge Be brought before the council. One of the Giunta. And the rest, When shall they be brought up 2 Ben. When all the chiefs Have been disposed of. Some have fled to Chiozza; But there are thousands in pursuit of them, And such precaution ta'en on terra firma, As well as in the islands, that we hope None will escape to utter in strange lands His libellous tale of treasons 'gainst the senate.

Enter the Doce as Prisoner, with Guards, &c. &c.

Ben. Doge—for such still you are, and by the law
Must be consider'd, till the hour shall come
When you must doff the ducal bonnet from
That head, which could not wear a crown more noble
Than empires can confer, in quiet honour,
But it must plot to overthrow your peers,
Who made you what you are, and quench in blood
A city's glory — we have laid already
Before you in your chamber at full length,
By the Avogadori, all the proofs
Which have appear'd against you; and more ample
Ne'er rear'd their sanguinary shadows to
Confront a traitor. What have you to say
In your defence 2

I}oge. What shall I say to ye,
Since my defence must be your condemnation ?
You are at once offenders and accusers,
Judges and executioners 1–Proceed
Upon your power.

Ben. Your chief accomplices
Having confess'd, there is no hope for you.

they are in a rage. Again, he does not in fact despise Bertram, though he affects it, - as we all do, when angry with one we think our inferior. He is angry at not being allowed to die in his own way (although not afraid of death); and recollect that he suspected and hated Bertram from the first. Israel Bertuccio, on the other hand, is a cooler and more concentrated fellow : he acts upon principle and impulse: Calendaro upon impulse and example. So there's argument for you. — * The Doge repeats ; ' – true, but it is from engrossing passion, and because he sees different persons, and is always obliged to recur to the cause uppermost in his mind. ' His speeches are long : " — true, but I wrote for the closet, and on the French and Italian model rather than yours, which I think not very highly of, for all your old dramatists, who are long enough too, God knows: look into any of them.”— Byron Letters.]

« السابقةمتابعة »