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Who dreaded to elect me, and have since
Striven all they dare to weigh me down: be sure,
Before or since that period, had I held you
At so much price as to require your absence,
A word of mine had set such spirits to work
As would have made you nothing. But in all things
I have observed the strictest reverence;
Not for the laws alone, for those you have strain'd
(I do not speak of you but as a single
Voice of the many) somewhat beyond what
I could enforce for my authority,
Were I disposed to brawl ; but, as I said,
I have observed with veneration, like
A priest's for the high altar, even unto
The sacrifice of my own blood and quiet,
Safety, and all save honour, the decrees,
The health, the pride, and welfare of the state.
And now, sir, to your business.
Lor. 'T is decreed,
That, without farther repetition of
The Question, or continuance of the trial,
Which only tends to show how stubborn guilt is,
(“The Ten,” dispensing with the stricter law
Which still prescribes the Question till a full
Confession, and the prisoner partly having
Avow'd his crime in not denying that
The letter to the Duke of Milan's his),
James Foscari return to banishment,
And sail in the same galley which conveyed him.
Mar. Thank God . At least they will not drag
him more
Before that horrid tribunal. Would he
But think so, to my mind the happiest doom,
Not he alone, but all who dwell here, could
Desire, were to escape from such a land.
Doge. That is not a Venetian thought, my daughter.
Mar. No, 't was too human. May I share his exile 2
Lor. Of this “the Ten" said nothing.

Mar. So I thought ! That were too human, also. But it was not Inhibited 2

Lor. It was not named.

Mar. (to the Doge). Then, father,

Surely you can obtain or grant me thus much :
[To Loreda No.

And you, sir, not oppose my prayer to be
Permitted to accompany my husband.

Doge. I will endeavour.


'T is not for me to anticipate the pleasure
Of the tribunal.

Mar. Pleasure what a word
To use for the decrees of

Doge. Daughter, know you In what a presence you pronounce these things 2

Mar. A prince's and his subject's.


Mitr. It galls you : — well, you are his equal, as You think ; but that you are not, nor would be, Were he a peasant : — well, then, you're a prince, A princely noble; and what then am I?

Lor. The offspring of a noble house.


* [See ante. p. 203.]

- o blackest leaf, his heart, and blankest his brain.”

And you, signor 2 Lady :

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And wedded

To one as noble. What, or whose, then, is
The presence that should silence my free thoughts 2
Lor. The presence of your husband's judges.

Doge. And The deference due even to the lightest word That falls from those who rule in Venice.

Mar. Keep

Those maxims for your mass of scared mechanics,
Your merchants, your Dalmatian and Greek slaves,
Your tributaries, your dumb citizens,
And mask'd nobility, your sbirri, and
Your spies, your galley and your other slaves,
To whom your midnight carryings off and drownings,
Your dungeons next the palace roofs, or under
The water's level; your mysterious meetings,
And unknown dooms, and sudden executions, [and
Your “Bridge of Sighs 1,” your strangling chamber,
Your torturing instruments, have made ye seem
The beings of another and worse world !
Keep such for them : I fear ye not. I know ye;
Have known and proved your worst, in the infernal
Process of my poor husband Treat me as
Ye treated him : — you did so, in so dealing
With him. Then what have I to fear from you,
Even if I were of fearful nature, which
I trust I am not 2

Doge. You hear, she speaks wildly.

Mar. Not wisely, yet not wildly.

Lor. Lady words Utter'd within these walls I bear no further Than to the threshold, saving such as pass Between the Duke and me on the state's service. Doge I have you aught in answer?

Doge. Something from The Doge ; it may be also from a parent.

Lor. My mission here is to the Doge.

The Doge will choose his own embassador,
Or state in person what is meet ; and for
The father

Lor. I remember mine. — Farewell
I kiss the hands of the illustrious lady,
And bow me to the Duke. [Erit Loked ANo.

Then say

Mar. Are you content 7
Doge. I am what you behold.
Mar. And that's a mystery.

Doge. All things are so to mortals; who can read them

Save he who made 7 or, if they can, the few
And gifted spirits, who have studied long
That loathsome volume — man, and pored upon
Those black and bloody leaves, his heart and brain, 8
But learn a magic which recoils upon
The adept who pursues it: all the sins
We find in others, nature made our own ;
All our advantages are those of fortune;
Birth, wealth, health, beauty, are her accidents,
And when we cry out against Fate, 't were well
We should remember Fortune can take nought
Save what she gave — the rest was nakedness,
And lusts, and appetites, and vanities,
The universal heritage, to battle
With as we may, and least in humblest stations,
Where hunger swallows all in one low want, 3
And the original ordinance, that man

* [“Where hunger swallows all — where ever was

MS fe monarch who could bear a three days' fast 2"

Must sweat for his poor pittance, keeps all passions
Aloof, save fear of famine : All is low,
And false, and hollow—clay from first to last,
The prince's urn no less than potter's vessel.
Our fame is in men's breath 1, our lives upon
Less than their breath; our durance upon days,
Our days on seasons; our whole being on
Something which is not us / So, we are slaves,
The greatest as the meanest—nothing rests
Upon our will ; the will itself no less
Depends upon a straw than on a storm; *
And when we think we lead, we are most led,
And still towards death, a thing which comes as much
Without our act or choice, as birth, so that
Methinks we must have sinn'd in some old world,
And this is hell: the best is, that it is not


Mar. These are things we cannot judge On earth. Doge. And how then shall we judge each other,

Who are all earth, and I, who am call'd upon
To judge my son 2 I have administer'd
My country faithfully — victoriously —
I dare them to the proof, the chart of what
She was and is : my reign has doubled realins;
And, in reward, the gratitude of Venice
Has left, or is about to leave, me single.

Mar. And Foscari ? I do not think of such things, So I be left with him.

Doge. You shall be so : Thus much they cannot well deny.

lsar. And if They should, I will fly with him.

Doge. That can ne'er be. And whither would you fly?

Mar. I know not, reck not.—

To Syria, Egypt, to the Ottoman —
Any where, where we might respire unfetter'd,
And live nor girt by spies, nor liable
To edicts of inquisitors of state. [husband,

Doge. What, wouldst thou have a renegade for And turn him into traitor 2

Mar. He is none :
The country is the traitress, which thrusts forth
Her best and bravest from her. Tyranny
Is far the worst of treasons. Dost thou deem
None rebels except subjects * The prince who
Neglects or violates his trust is more
A brigand than the robber-chief.

Doge. I cannot Charge me with such a breach of faith. Mar. No ; thou

Observ'st, obey'st, such laws as make old Draco's
A code of mercy by comparison.

Doge. I found the law; I did not make it. Were I
A subject, still I might find parts and portions
Fit for amendment; but as prince, I never
Would change, for the sake of my house, the charter
Left by our fathers.

Mar. Did they make it for The ruin of their children 2

Doge. Under such laws, Venice Has risen to what she is—a state to rival In deeds, and days, and sway, and, let me add, In glory (for we have had Roman spirits

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Amongst us), all that history has bequeath'd
Of Rome and Carthage in their best times, when
The people sway’d by senates.

Mar. Rather say, Groan'd under the stern oligarchs. Doge. Perhaps so ;

But yet subdued the world: in such a state
An individual, be he richest of
Such rank as is permitted, or the meanest,
Without a name, is alike nothing, when
The policy, irrevocably tending
To one great end, must be maintain'd in vigour.

Mar. This means that you are more a Loge than


Doge. It means, I am more citizen than either. If we had not for many centuries Had thousands of such citizens, and shall, I trust, have still such, Venice were no city.

Mar. Accursed be the city where the laws Would stifle nature's 1

Doge. Had I as many sons
As I have years, I would have given them all,
Not without feeling, but I would have given them
To the state's service, to fulfil her wishes
On the flood, in the field, or, if it must be,
As it, alas ! has been, to ostracism,
Exile, or chains, or whatsoever worse
She might decree.

Mar. And this is patriotism 2
To me it seems the worst barbarity.
Let me seek out my husband: the sage “Ten,"
With all its jealousy, will hardly war
So far with a weak woman as deny me
A moment's access to his dungeon.

Doge. I'll
So far take on myself, as order that
You may be admitted.

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Jac. Fos. (solus). No light, save yon faint gleam, which shows me walls Which never echo'd but to sorrow's sounds, The sigh of long imprisonment, the step Of feet on which the iron clank'd, the groan Of death, the imprecation of despair : And yet for this I have return'd to Venice, With some faint hope, 'tis true, that time, which wears The marble down, had worn away the hate Of men's hearts; but I knew thern not, and here Must I consume my own, which never beat For Venice but with such a yearning as - * the will itself denendent

Upon a storm, a straw, and both alike Leading to death.” – MS.]

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scene I. THE TWO
The dove has for her distant nest, when wheeling
High in the air on her return to greet
Her callow brood. What letters are these which
[Approaching the wall.
Are scrawl'd along the inexorable wall 7 |
Will the gleam let me trace them? Ah the names
Of my sad predecessors in this place,
The dates of their despair, the brief words of
A grief too great for many. This stone page
Holds like an epitaph their history;
And the poor captive's tale is graven on
His dungeon barrier, like the lover's record
Upon the bark of some tall tree, which bears
His own and his beloved's name. Alas !
I recognise some names familiar to me,
And blighted like to mine, which I will add,
Fittest for such a chronicle as this,
which only can be read, as writ, by wretches. *
[He engraves his name.

Enter a Familiar of “the Ten.”3 Fam. I bring you food. Jac. Fos. I pray you set it down; I ain past hunger: but my lips are parch'd— The water 1 Fam. There. Jac. Fos. (after drinking). Ithank you:I am better. Fam. I am commanded to inform you that Your further trial is postponed. Jac. Fos. Till when 2 Film. I know not. — It is also in my orders That your illustrious lady be admitted. Jac. Fos. Ah they relent, then, – I had ceased to hope it: "Twas time.


Mar. My best beloved 1

Jac. Fos. (embracing her). My true wife, And only friend What happiness |

Mar. No more.

Jac. Fos. How I wouldst thou share a dungeon 7

Mar. Ay,
The rack, the grave, all—any thing with thee,
But the tomb last of all, for there we shall
Be ignorant of each other, yet I will
Share that—all things except new separation;
It is too much to have survived the first.
How dost thou ? How are those worn limbs 2
Why do I ask 2 Thy paleness

Jac. Fos.
Of seeing thee again so soon, and so
Without expectancy, has sent the blood
Back to my heart, and left my cheeks like thine,
For thou art pale too, my Marina |

Mar. 'T is
The gloom of this eternal cell, which never
Knew sunbeam, and the sallow sullen glare
Of the familiar's torch, which seems akin *

We'll part

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To darkness more than light, by lending to
The dungeon vapours its bituminous smoke,
Which cloud whate'er we gaze on, even thine eyes –
No, not thine eyes—they sparkle—how they sparkle !
Jac. Fos. And thine !—but I am blinded by the
torch. [here 2
Mur. As I had been without it. Couldst thou see
Jac. Fos. Nothing at first; but use and time had
taught me
Familiarity with what was darkness;
And the grey twilight of such glimmerings as
Glide through the crevices made by the winds
Was kinder to mine eyes than the full sun,
When gorgeously o'ergilding any towers
Save those of Venice : but a moment ere
Thou camest hither I was busy writing.
Mar. What? [next
Jac. Fos. My name: look, 'tis there — recorded
The name of him who here preceded me,
If dungeon dates say true.
Mar. And what of him 2
Jac. Fos. These walls are silent of men's ends;
they only ‘.
Seem to hint shrewdly of them. Such stern walls
Were never piled on high save o'er the dead,
Or those who soon must be so. What of him 2
Thou askest. —What of me? may soon be ask'd,
With the like answer—doubt and dreadful surmise—
Unless thou tell'st my tale.
Jac. Fos. And wherefore not ?
speak of me:
The tyranny of silence is not lasting,
And, though events be hidden, just men's groans
Will burst all cerement, even a living grave's 1
I do not doubt my memory, but my life ;
And neither do I fear.

I speak of thee!
All then shall

Mar. Thy life is safe.
Jac. Fos. And liberty 2
Mar. The mind should make its own.

Jac. Fos. That has a noble sound; but 'tis a sound,
A music most impressive, but too transient:
The mind is much, but is not all. The mind
Hath nerved me to endure the risk of death,
And torture positive, far worse than death
(If death be a deep sleep), without a groan,
Or with a cry which rather shamed my judges
Than me; but 'tis not all, for there are things
More woful—such as this small dungeon, where
I may breathe many years.

Mar. Alas! and this
Small dungeon is all that belongs to thee
Of this wide realm, of which thy sire is prince.

Jac. Fos. That thought would scarcely aid me to

endure it.

My doom is common, many are in dungeons,
But none like mine, so near their father's palace ;
But then my heart is sometimes high, and hope
Will stream along those moted rays of light
Peopled with dusty atoms, which afford

after Giacopo had been tortured, he was removed to the IDucal apartments, not to one of the Pozzi ; that his death occurred, not at Venice, but at Canea ; that fifteen months elapsed between his last condemnation and his father's deposition ; and that the death of the Doge took place, not at th.e. go but in his own housc. – Venet. Sketches, vol. ii. p. 105.

* [“ of the familiar's torch, which seems to love

Darkness far more than light.”— MS.]

Our only day; for, save the gaoler's torch,
And a strange firefly, which was quickly caught
Last night in yon enormous spider's net,
I ne'er saw aught here like a ray. Alas !
I know if mind may bear us up, or no,
For I have such, and shown it before men;
It sinks in solitude l: my soul is social.

Mar. I will be with thee.

Jac. Fos. Ah if it were so : But that they never granted—nor will grant, And I shall be alone: no men — no books – Those lying likenesses of lying men. I ask'd for even those outlines of their kind, Which they term annals, history, what you will, Which men bequeath as portraits, and they were Refused me, – so these walls have been my study, More faithful pictures of Venetian story, With all their blank, or dismal stains, than is The Hall not far from hence, which bears on high Hundreds of doges, and their deeds and dates.

Mar. I come to tell thee the result of their Last council on thy doom.

Jac: Fos. I know it—look :

[He points to his limbs, as referring to the
Question which he had undergone.

Mar. No-no--no more of that: even they relent

From that atrocity.

Jac. Fos. What then 2

Marr. That you Return to Candia.

Jac. Fos. Then my last hope's gone.

I could endure my dungeon, for 'twas Venice;
I could support the torture, there was something
In my native air that buoy'd my spirits up
Like a ship on the ocean toss'd by storms,
But proudly still bestriding the high waves,
And holding on its course; but there, afar,
In that accursed isle of slaves, and captives,
And unbelievers, like a stranded wreck,
My very soul seem'd mouldering in my bosom,
And piecemeal I shall perish, if remanded.

Mar. And here 2

Jac. Fos. At once — by better means, as briefer. What would they even deny me my sires' sepulchre, As well as home and heritage 7

Mar. My husband : I have sued to accompany thee hence,

! [Persons condemned to solitary confinement generally, we are assured, become either madmen or idiots, as mind or matter happens to predominate, when the mysterious balance between them is destroyed. But they who are subjected to such a dreadful punishment are generally, like most per

trators of gross crimes, men of feeble internal resources. Men of talents, like Trenck, have been known, in the deepest seclusion, and most severe confinement, to battle the foul fiend melancholy, and to come off conquerors during a captivity of years. Those who suffer imprisonment for the sake of their country, or their religion, have yet a stronger support, and may exclaim, though in a different sense from that of Othello, - “. It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul.” – SiR WALTER Scott.]

* In Lady Morgan's fearless and excellent work upon Italy, I perceive the expression of “Rome of the Ocean” applied to Venice. The same phrase occurs in the “Two Foscari.” My publisher can vouch for me, that the tragedy was written and sent to England some time before I had seen Lady Moran’s work, which I only received on the 16th of August. hasten, however, to notice the coincidence, and to yield the originality of the phrase to her who first placed it before the public. I am the more anxious to do this, as I am informed (for I have seen but few of the specimens, and those accidentally,) that there have been lately brought against me charges of plagiarism. [See post, note to the description of a shipwreck, DoN J cas, c. ii. s. xxiv.]

And not so hopelessly. This love of thine
For an ungrateful and tyrannic soil
Is passion, and not patriotism ; for me,
So I could see thee with a quiet aspect,
And the sweet freedom of the earth and air,
I would not cavil about climes or regions.
This crowd of palaces and prisons is not
A paradise; its first inhabitants
Were wretched exiles.

Jac. Fos. Well I know how wretched :

Mar. And yet you see how from their banish


Before the Tartar into these salt isles,
Their antique energy of mind, all that
Remain'd of Rome for their inheritance,
Created by degrees an ocean-Rome; *
And shall an evil, which so often leads
To good, depress thee thus 2

Jac. Fos. Had I gone forth
From my own land, like the old patriarchs, seeking
Another region, with their flocks and herds;
Had I been cast out like the Jews from Zion,
Or like our fathers, driven by Attila
From fertile Italy, to barren islets,
I would have given some tears to my late country,
And many thoughts; but afterwards address'd
Myself, with those about me, to create
A new home and fresh state : perhaps I could
Have borne this—though I know not.

Mar. Wherefore not * It was the lot of millions, and must be The fate of myriads more.

Jac. Fos. Ay — we but hear Of the survivors' toil in their new lands, Their numbers and success; but who can number The hearts which broke in silence of that parting, Or after their departure; of that malady 3 Which calls up green and native fields to view From the rough deep, with such identity To the poor exile's fever'd eye, that he Can scarcely be restrain'd from treading them 2 That melody", which out of tones and tunes Collects such pasture for the longing sorrow Of the sad mountaineer, when far away From his snow canopy of cliffs and clouds, That he feeds on the sweet, but poisonous thought, And dies. You call this weakness / It is strength,

* The calenture. — [A distemper peculiar to sailors in hot climates —

“So by a calenture misled

The mariner with rapture sees

On the smooth ocean's azure bed
Enamel'd fields and verdant trees:

With eager haste he longs to rove,
ln that fantastic scene, and thinks

It must be some enchanted grove,
And in he leaps, and down he sinks.”— Swift.]

* Alluding to the Swiss air and its effects. – The Ranz des Paches, played upon the bag-pipe by the young cowkeepers on the mountains:– “An air,” says Rousseau, “ so dear to the Swiss, that it was forbidden, under the pain of death, to play it to the troops, as it immediately drew tears from them, and made those who heard it desert, or die of what is called la maladie du païs, so ardent a desire did it excite to return to their country. It is in vain to seek in this air for energetic accents capable of producing such astonishing effects, for which strangers are unable to account from the music, which is in itself uncouth and wild. But it is from habit, recollections, and a thousand circumstances, retraced in this tune by those natives who hear it, and reminding them of their country, former pleasures of their youth, and all their ways of living, which occasiou a bitter reflection at having lost them.")

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scene I. THE TWO FOSCARI. 289 I say, -the parent of all honest feeling. Jac. Fos. Curse it not. If I am silent,

He who loves not his country, can love nothing.

Mur. Obey her, then : 'tis she that puts thee forth.

Jac. Fos. Ay, there it is: 'tis like a mother's curse Upon my soul — the mark is set upon me. The exiles you speak of went forth by nations, Their hands upheld each other by the way, Their tents were pitch'd together — I’m alone.

Mar. You shall be so no more —I will go with thee.

Jac. Fos. My best Marina : — and our children 2

Mar. They, I fear, by the prevention of the state's Abhorrent policy, (which holds all tics As threads, which may be broken at her pleasure,) Will not be suffer'd to proceed with us.

Jac. Fos. And canst thou leave them 2

Mar. Yes. With many a pang. But — I can leave them, children as they are, To teach you to be less a child. From this Learn you to sway your feelings, when exacted By dutics paramount ; and 'tis our first On earth to bear.

Jac. Fos.

Mar. From tyrannous injustice, and enough To teach you not to shrink now from a lot, Which, as compared with what you have undergone Of late, is mercy.

Jac. Fos. Ah you never yet Were far away from Venice, never saw Her beautiful towers in the receding distance, While every furrow of the vessel's track Seem'd ploughing deep into your heart; you never Saw day go down upon your native spires So calmly with its gold and crimson glory, And after dreaming a disturbed vision Of them and theirs, awoke and found them not.

Mar. I will divide this with you. Let us think Of our departure from this much-loved city, (Since you must love it, as it seems,) and this Chamber of state, her gratitude allots you. Our children will be cared for by the Doge, And by my uncles: we must sail cre night. (father?

Jac. Fos. That's sudden. Shall I not behold my

Mar. You will.

Jac. Fos.

Mar. Here, or in the ducal chamber— He said not which. I would that you could bear Your exile as he bears it.

Jac. Fos. Blame him not.
I sometimes murmur for a moment; but
He could not now act otherwise. A show
Of feeling or compassion on his part
Would have but drawn upon his aged head
Suspicion from “the Ten,” and upon mine
Accumulated ills.

Mar. Accumulated |
What pangs are those they have spared you ?

Jac. Fos. That of leaving
Venice without beholding him or you,
Which might have been forbidden now, as 't was
Upon my former exile.

Mar. That is true,
And thus far I am also the state's debtor,
And shall be more so when I see us both
Floating on the free waves—away — away—
Be it to the earth's cnd, from this abhorr'd,
Unjust, and

Have I not borne 2
Too much

Where 2

Who dares accuse my country 2

Mar. Men and angels 1 The blood of myriads reeking up to heaven, The groans of slaves in chains, and men in dungeons, Mothers, and wives, and sons, and sires, and sub


Held in the bondage of ten bald-heads; and
Though last, not least, thy silence. Couldst thou say
Aught in its favour, who would praise like thce 2

Jac. Fos. Let us address us then, since so it must be, To our departure. Who comes here 2

Enter Lotted ANo, attended by Familiars. Lor. (to the Familiars). Itetire, But leave the torch. [Ereunt the two Familiars. Jue. Fos. Most welcome, noble signor. I did not deem this poor place could have drawn Such presence hither.

Lor. 'Tis not the first time I have visited these places. Mar. Nor would be

The last, were all men's merits well rewarded.
Came you here to insult us, or remain
As spy upon us, or as hostage for us 2

Lor. Neither are of my office, noble lady
I am sent hither to your husband, to
Announce “the Ten's " decree.

Mar. That tenderness Has been anticipated : it is known.

Lor. As how 7

Mar. I have inform'd him, not so gently Doubtless, as your nice feelings would prescribe, The indulgence of your colleagues: but he knew it. If you come for our thanks, take them, and hence 1 The dungeon gloom is deep enough without you, And full of reptiles, not less loathsome, though Their sting is honester.

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