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Of an united and imperial “ Ten,” Mem. What : Than shine a lonely, though a gilded cipher.— Again 7
Whom have we here 2 the wife of Foscari 7 Mar. His voice I it seem'd so: I will not
Enter MARINA, with a female Attendant.
But they are senators. stwo;
Has been one long entreaty, and a vain one. Mem. I understand thee, but I must not answer. Mar. (fiercely). Truc – none dare answer here save on the rack, Or question save those Mem. (interrupting her). think thee Where thou now art. Mar. Where I now am : — It was My husband's father's palace. Mem. The Duke's palace. Mur. And his son's prison 1 — true, I have not forgot it; And if there were no other nearer, bitterer IRemembrances, would thank the illustrious Memmo For pointing out the pleasures of the place. Mem. Be calm 1 Mar. (looking up towards heaven). I am; but oh, thou eternal God : Canst thou continue so, with such a world 2 Mem. Thy husband yet may be absolved. Mur. In heaven. I pray you, signor senator, Speak not of that ; you are a man of office, So is the Doge ; he has a son at stake, Now, at this moment, and I have a husband, Or had ; they are there within, or were at least An hour since, face to face, as judge and culprit. Will he condemn him 2 Mem. Mar. But if He does not, there are those will sentence both. Mem. They can. Mar. And with them power and will are one In wickedness: — my husband's lost 1 Mem. Justice is judge in Venice. Mar. If it were so, There now would be no Venice. But let it Live on, so the good die not, till the hour Of nature's summons; but “the Ten's" is quicker, And we must wait on 't. Ah! a voice of wail [A faint cry within.
I trust not.
Mem. 'Twas a cry of —
Mur. No, no; not my husband's — Not Foscari's.
Mem. The voice was –
Mar. Not his ; no.
He shriek : No ; that should be his father's part,
1 [She was a Contarini– “A daughter of the house that now among its ancestors in monumental brass Numbers eight Doges.”—Rogens. On the occasion of her marriage with the younger Foscari, the Bucen'aur came out in its splendour; and a bridge of boats was thrown across the Canal Grande for the bridegroom,
Believe it. Should he shrink, I cannot cease
Are judges who give way to anger? they
Mem. Then why not clear him 2
Sen. That They ought to answer; for it is well known That Almoro Donato, as I said, Was slain by Erizzo for private vengeance. [than
Mem. There must be more in this strange process The apparent crimes of the accused disclose— But here conne two of “the Ten; ” let us retire. [Ereunt MEMMo and Senator.
Enter LorenANo and BARBARIco. Bar. (addressing LoR.). That were too much : believe me, ’t was not meet The trial should go further at this moment.
1. [“Night and day, Brooding on what he had been, what he was 'T was more than he could bear. His longing fits Thicken'd upon him. His desire for home Became a madness; and, resolv'd to go, If but to die, in his despair, he writes A letter to the sovercign-prince of Milan, #: him whose name, among the greatest now,” lad perish'd, blotted out at once and rased, But for the rugged limb of an old oak.)
* Francesco Sforza. His father, when at work in the field, was accosted by some soldiers, and asked if he would enlist. “Let me throw my mattock on that oak,” he replied, “ and if it remains there, I will." It remained there ; and the peasant, regarding it as a sign, enlisted. He became soldier, general,
rince; and his grandson, in the palace at Milan, said to
aulus Jovius, “You behold these guards and this grandeur : I owe every thing to the branch of an oak, the branch that held my grandfather's mattock." – Rogers.
* [The extraordinary sentence pronounced against him, still existing among the archives of Venice, runs thus : — “Giacopo Foscari, accused of the murder of Hermolao Donato, has been arrested and examined ; and, from the testimony, evidence, and documents exhibited, or distinctly appears that he is guilty of the aforesaid crime ; nevertheless, on account of his obstinacy, and of emchuntments and spells, in his possession, of which there are manifest proofs, it has not been possille to extract from him the truth, which is clear from parole and written evidence ; for, while he was on the cord, he uttered neither word nor groan, but only murmured something to himself indistinctly and under his breath ; therefore, as the honour of the state requires, he is condemn to a more distant banishment in Candia.” Will it be credited, that a distinct ". of his innocence, obtained by the discovery of the real assassin, wrought no change in his unjust and cruel sentence 2 – See Penetian Sketches, vol. ii. p. 97.]
Lor. Would'st thou have His state descend to his children, as it must, If he die unattainted 7
Bar. War with them too 7
Lor. With all their house, till theirs or mine are
Bar. And the deep agony of his pale wife, And the repress'd convulsion of the high And princely brow of his old father, which Broke forth in a slight shuddering, though rarely, Or in some clammy drops, soon wiped away In stern serenity; these moved you not?
[Erit Loned ANo. He's silent in his hate, as Foscari Was in his suffering; and the poor wretch moved me More by his silence than a thousand outcries Could have effected. 'T was a dreadful sight When his distracted wife broke through into The hall of our tribunal, and beheld What we could scarcely look upon, long used To such sights. I must think no more of this, Lest I forget in this compassion for Our foes, their former injuries, and lose The hold of vengeance Loredano plans For him and me ; but mine would be content With lesser retribution than he thirsts for, And I would mitigate his deeper hatred To milder thoughts; but for the present, Foscari Has a short hourly respite, granted at The instance of the elders of the Council, Moved doubtless by his wife's appearance in The hall, and his own sufferings.-Lo they come: How feeble and forlorn 1 I cannot bear To look on them again in this extremity: I'll hence, and try to soften Loredano. [Erit BARBARIco.
The DoGE and a SENATom. Sen. Is it your pleasure to sign the report Now, or postpone it till to-morrow 7 Doge. I overlook'd it yesterday: it wants Merely the signature. Give me the pen — [The Doge sits down and signs the paper. There, signor. Sen. (looking at the paper). You have forgot; it is not sign'd. Doge. Not sign'd? Ah, I perceive my eyes begin To wax more weak with age. I did not see That I had dipp'd the pen without effect. 1 Sen. (dipping the pen into the ink, and placing the paper before the DoGE). Your hand, too, shakes, my lord : allow me, thus — Doge. 'T is done, I thank you. Sen. Thus the act confirm'd By you and by “the Ten" gives peace to Venice. Doge. 'T is long since she enjoy'd it: may it be As long ere she resume her arms 1 Sen. 'T is almost Thirty-four years of nearly ceaseless warfare
With the Turk, or the powers of Italy;
Doge. No doubt:
Sen. 'T is most true, And merits all our country's gratitude.
Doge. Perhaps so.
Sen. Which should be made manifest.
Doge. I have not complain'd, sir.
Sen. My good lord, forgive me. Doge. For what?
Sen. My heart bleeds for you. Doge. For me, signor 7 Sen. And for your
Doge. Stop :
Sen. It must have way, my lord :
I have too many duties towards you
Doge. Was this In your commission ?
Sen. What, my lord 7
Doge. This prattle
Of things you know not : but the treaty's sign'd :
Mar. I had obtain'd permission from “the Ten" To attend my husband for a limited number Of hours. Doge. Mar. Doge. By whom 7 Mar. “ The Ten.”—When we had reach'd “ the Bridge of Sighs,” Which I prepared to pass with Foscari, The gloomy guardian of that passage first Demurr'd : a messenger was sent back to “The Ten;" but as the court no longer sate, And no permission had been given in writing, I was thrust back, with the assurance that Until that high tribunal re-assembled, The dungeon walls must still divide us. Doge. The form has been omitted in the haste With which the court adjourn'd ; and till it meets, 'T is dubious. Mar. Till it meets and when it meets, They'll torture him again; and he and I Must purchase, by renewal of the rack, The interview of husband and of wife, The holiest tie beneath the heavens ! – Oh God : Dost thou see this 7 Doge. Child - child Mar. (abruptly). Call me not “ child " You soon will have no children—you deserve none— You, who can talk thus calmly of a son In circumstances which would call forth tears Of blood from Spartans ! Though these did not weep Their boys who died in battle, is it written That they beheld them perish piecemeal, nor Stretch'd forth a hand to save them 2 Doge. You behold me: I cannot weep – I would I could ; but if Each white hair on this head were a young life, This ducal cap the diadem of earth, This ducal ring with which I wed the waves A talisman to still them—I'd give all For him. Mar. With less he surely might be saved. Doge. That answer only shows you know not Venice. Alas ! how should you? she knows not herself, In all her mystery. Hear me—they who aim At Foscari, aim no less at his father; The sire's destruction would not save the son ; They work by different means to the same end, And that is but they have not conquer'd yet. Mar. But they have crush'd. Doge. Nor crush'd as yet — I live. Mar. And your son, — how long will he live 2 Doge. I trust, For all that yet is past, as many years And happier than his father. The rash boy, With womanish impatience to return, Hath ruin’d all by that detected letter; A high crime, which I neither can deny Nor palliate, as parent or as Duke : Had he but borne a little, little longer His Candiote exile, I had hopes he has quench'd them — He must return. Mur. Doge. I have said it. Mar. And can I not go with him 2
You had so.
To exile 2
Doge. You well know This prayer of yours was twice denied before By the assembled “Ten," and hardly now Will be accorded to a third request, Since aggravated errors on the part Of your lord renders them still more austere.
Mar. Austere? Atrocious ! The old human fiends, With one foot in the grave, with dim eyes, strang To tears save drops of dotage, with long white And scanty hairs, and shaking hands, and heads As palsied as their hearts are hard, they council, Cabal, and put men's lives out, as if life Were no more than the feelings long extinguish'd In their accursed bosoms.
Doge. You know not
Mar. I do—I do—and so should you, methinks— That these are demons: could it be else that Men, who have been of women born and suckled — Who have loved, or talk'd at least of love—have given Their bands in sacred vows—have danced their babes Upon their knees, perhaps have mourn’d above them — In pain, in peril, or in death — who are, Or were at least in seeming, human, could Do as they have done by yours, and you yourself, Pou, who abet them 7
Doge. I forgive this, for You know not what you say.
Mar. Fou know it well, And feel it nothing.
Doge. I have borne so much,
That words have ceased to shake me.
Mar. Are you, then, Indeed, thus to be pitied ? Doge. Pitied 1 None
Shall ever use that base word, with which men
Mar. But for the poor children
Doge. Would it were so I Better for him he never had been born ; Better for Inc. —I have seen our house dishonour'd.
284. BYRON'S WORKS. ACT II. Mar. That's false . A truer, nobler, trustier heart, Lor. They wish'd to spare your feelings, More loving, or more loyal, never beat No less than age.
Within a human breast. I would not change
Doge. He was
Mur. That word again?
Doge. Has he not been condemn'd?
Mar. Is none but guilt so 2
Doge. Time may restore his memory — I would
He was my pride, my but 'tis useless now —
Mar. I say he's innocent And were he not so,
Doge. I shrank not from him : But I have other duties than a father's ; The state would not dispense me from those duties; Twice I demanded it, but was refused : They must then be fulfill'd. 1
I so interest of this play is founded upon feelings so peculiar or overstrained, as to engage no sympathy; and the whole story turns on incidents that are neither pleasing nor natural. The younger Foscari undergoes the rack twice (once in the hearing of the audience), merely because he has chosen to feign himself a traitor, that he might be brought back from undeserved banishment, and dies at last of pure dotage on this sentiment ; while the elder Foscari submits, in profound and immoveable silence, to this treatment of his son, lest, by seeming to feel for his unhappy fate, he should
Doge. That's new—when spared they either? I thank them, notwithstanding. Lor. You know well That they have power to act at their discretion, With or without the presence of the Doge. Doge. 'T is some years since I learn'd this, long before I became Doge, or dream'd of such advancement. You need not school me, signor: I sate in That council when you were a young patrician. Lor. True, in my father's time ; I have heard him and The admiral, his brother, say as much. Your highness may remember them ; they both Died suddenly. Doge. And if they did so, better So die than live on lingeringly in pain. [days out. Ilor. No doubt : yet most men like to live thcir Doge. And did not they 2
Lor. The grave knows best: they died, As I said, suddenly. Doge. Is that so strange,
That you repeat the word emphatically 2 [death
Lor. So far from strange, that never was there In my mind half so natural as theirs. Think you not so 7
Doge, What should I think of mortals 7
Lor. That they have mortal foes.
Doge. I understand you; Your sires were mine, and you are heir in all things.
Lor. You best know if I should be so.
Doge. I do.
Doge. I : 'T is true
Lor. I fear not.
Doge. You have no cause, being what I am ; but
That you would have me thought, you long ere now Were past the sense of fear. Hate on ; I care not.
Lor. I never yet knew that a noble's life In Venice had to dread a Doge's frown, That is, by open means.
Doge. But I, good signor, Am, or least was, more than a mere duke, In blood, in mind, in Ineans ; and that they know
Who dares say so 2
be implicated in his guilt — though he is supposed guiltless. He, the Doge, is afraid to stir hand or foot, to look or speak, while these inexplicable horrors are transacting, on account of the hostility * one Loredano, who lords it in the council of “the Ten," nobody knows why or how ; and who at last “enmeshes" both father and son in his toils, in spite of their passive obedience and non-resistance to his plans. They aro silly flies for this spider to catch, and “f fat his ancient grudge upon." — Jerr REY.]