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Venetian (who see few steeds save of bronze),

From those Venetians who have skimm'd the coasts
Of Egypt, and her neighbour Araby:
And why not say as soon the “generous man 2"
If race be aught, it is in qualities
More than in years; and mine, which is as old
As yours, is better in its product, nay—
Look not so stern—but get you back, and pore
Upon your genealogic tree's most green
Of leaves and most mature of fruits, and there
Blush to find ancestors, who would have blush'd
For such a son—thou cold inveterate hater :

Jac. Fos. Again, Marinal

Mar. Again still, Marina. See you not, he comes here to glut his hate With a last look upon our misery 2 Let him partake it !

Jac. Fos. That were difficult.

Mar. Nothing more easy. He partakes it now — Ay, he may veil beneath a marble brow And sneering lip the pang, but he partakes it. A few brief words of truth shame the devil's servants No less than master; I have probed his soul A moment, as the eternal fire, ere long, Will reach it always. See how he shrinks from me ! With death, and chains, and exile in his hand To scatter o'er his kind as he thinks fit : They are his weapons, not his armour, for I have pierced him to the core of his cold heart. I care not for his frowns ! We can but die, And he but live, for him the very worst Of destinies: each day secures him more His tempter's.

Jac. Fos. This is mere insanity.

Mar. It may be so; and who hath made us mad 2

Lor. Let her go on; it irks not me.

Mar. That's false : You canne here to enjoy a heartless triumph Of cold looks upon manifold griefs: You came To be sued to in vain—to mark our tears, And hoard our groans—to gaze upon the wreck Which you have made a prince's son—my husband; In short, to trample on the fallen — an office The hangman shrinks from, as all men from him : How have you sped 2 We are wretched, signor, as Your plots could make, and vengeance could desire us, And how feel you ?


Mar. By thunder blasted : They feel not, but no less are shiver'd. Come,

As rocks.

* [If the two Foscari do nothing to defeat the machinations of their remorseless foe, Marina, the wife of the younger, at least revenges them, by letting loose the venom of her tongue



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Doge. I feel too much thou hast not.
Mar. Doge, look there
[She points to Loked Aso.

Doge. I see the man—what mean'st thou ?

Mur. Caution :

Lor. Being
The virtue which this noble lady most
May practise, she doth well to recommend it.

Mur. Wretch 'tis no virtue, but the policy
Of those who fain must deal perforce with vice:
As such I recommend it, as I would
To one whose foot was on an adder's path.

Doge. Daughter, it is superfluous; I have long Known Loredano.

Lor. You may know him better.

Mar. Yes; worse he could not.

Jac. Fos. Father, let not these
Our parting hours be lost in listening to
Reproaches, which boot nothing. Is it—is it,
Indeed, our last of meetings 7

These white hairs :

Jac. Fos. And I feel, besides, that mine
Will never be so white. Embrace me, father
I loved you ever—never more than now.
Look to my children—to your last child's children:
Let them be all to you which he was once,
And never be to you what I am now.
May I not see them also 2

Mar. No-not here.

Jac. Fos. They might behold their parent any


Mar. I would that they beheld their father in
A place which would not mingle fear with love,
To freeze their young blood in its natural current.
They have fed well, slept soft, and knew not that
Their sire was a mere hunted outlaw. Well,
I know his fate may one day be their heritage,
But let it only be their heritage,
And not their present fee. Their senses, though
Alive to love, are yet awake to terror;
And these vile damps, too, and yon thick green wave
Which floats above the place where we now stand—
A cell so far below the water's level,
Sending its pestilence through every crevice,
Might strike them: this is not their atmosphere,
However you – and you — and, most of all,
As worthiest — you, sir, noble Loredano I
May breathe it without prejudicc.

Jac. Fos.
Reflected upon this, but acquiesce.
I shall depart, then, without meeting them 2

You behold

I have not

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Doge. Not so: they shall await you in my chamber. Jac. Fos. And must I leave them — all 2

Lor. You must. Jac. Fos. - Not one 7 Lor. They are the state's.

Mar. I thought they had been mine. JLor. They are, in all maternal things.

Mar. That is,

In all things painful. If they're sick, they will
Be left to me to tend them; should they die,
To me to bury and to mourn; but if
They live, they'll make you soldiers, senators,
Slaves, exiles—what you will; or if they are
Females with portions, brides and bribes for nobles :
Behold the state's care for its sons and mothers :
Lor. The hour approaches, and the wind is fair.
Jac. Fos. How know you that here, where the genial
Ne'er blows in all its blustering freedom *
Lor. 'Twas so
When I came here. The galley floats within
A bow-shot of the “Riva di Schiavoni.”
Jac. Fos. Father I pray you to precede me, and
Prepare my children to behold their father.
Doge. Be firm, my son :
Jac. Fos. I will do my endeavour.
Mar. Farewell ! at least to this detested dungeon,
And him to whose good offices you owe
In part your past imprisonment.

Lor. And present Liberation.

Doge. He speaks truth.

Jac. Fos. No doubt but 'tis

Exchange of chains for heavier chains I owe him.
He knows this, or he had not sought to change them.
But I reproach not.
Lor. The time narrows, signor.
Jac. Fos. Alas! I little thought so lingeringly
To leave abodes like this : but when I feel
That every step I take, even from this cell,
Is one away from Venice, I look back
Even on these dull damp walls, and
Doge. Boy no tears.
Mar. Let them flow on : he wept not on the rack
To shame him, and they cannot shame him now.
They will relieve his heart—that too kind heart —
And I will find an hour to wipe away
Those tears, or add my own. I could weep now,
But would not gratify yon wretch so far.
Let us proceed. Doge, lead the way.
Lor. (to the Familiar). The torch, there !
Mar. Yes, light us on, as to a funeral pyre,
With Loredano mourning like an heir.
Doge. My son, you are feeble ; take this hand.
Jac. Fos. Alas !
Must youth support itself on age, and I
Who ought to be the prop of yours ?
Lor. Take mine.
Mar. Touch it not, Foscari; 'twill sting you.
Stand off! be sure, that if a grasp of yours
Would raise us from the gulf wherein we are plunged,
No hand of ours would stretch itself to meet it.
Come, Foscari, take the hand the altar gave you;
It could not save, but will support you ever.

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Bar. And have you confidence in such a project?

Lor. I have.

Bar. 'Tis hard upon his years.

Lor. Say rather Kind to relieve him from the cares of state.

Bar. 'Twill break his heart.

Lor. Age has no heart to break. He has seen his son's half broken, and, except A start of feeling in his dungeon, never Swerved.

Bar. In his countenance, I grant you, never; But I have seen him sometimes in a calm So desolate, that the most clamorous grief Had nought to envy him within. Where is he 2

Lor. In his own portion of the palace, with His son, and the whole race of Foscaris.

Bar. Bidding farewell.

Lor. A last. As soon he shall Bid to his dukedom. Bar. When embarks the son 2

Lor. Forthwith—when this long leave is taken. 'Tis Time to admonish them again.

Bar. Forbear; Retrench not from their moments. Lor. Not I, now

We have higher business for our own. This day
Shall be the last of the old Doge's reign,
As the first of his son's last banishment,
And that is vengeance.

Bar. In my mind, too deep.

Lor. 'Tis moderate — not even life for life, the rule Denounced of retribution from all time; They owe me still my father's and my uncle's.

Bar. Did not the Doge deny this strongly 2

Lor. Doubtless, Bar. And did not this shake your suspicion ? Lor. No.

Bar. But if this deposition should take place By our united influence in the Council, It must be done with all the deference Due to his years, his station, and his deeds.

Lor. As much of ceremony as you will, So that the thing be done. You may, for aught I care, depute the Council on their knees, (Like Barbarossa to the Pope,) to beg him To have the courtesy to abdicate.

Bar. What, if he will not 2

Lor. We'll elect another, And make him null. Bar. But will the laws uphold us 2

Lor. What laws? —“The Ten” are laws; and if they were not, I will be legislator in this business. Bar. At your own peril 2

Lor. There is none, I tell you, Our powers are such. Bar. But he has twice already

Solicited permission to retire,
And twice it was refused.
Lor. The better reason
To grant it the third time.

The Bridge which few repass.

202 BYRON'S WORKS. act v. Bar. Unask'd 2 Mem. Being worth our lives Lor. It shows | If we divulge them, doubtless they are worth

The impression of his former instances:
If they were from his heart, he may be thankful:
If not, 'twill punish his hypocrisy.
Come, they are met by this time; let us join them,
And be thou fix’d in purpose for this once.
I have prepared such arguments as will not
Fail to nove them, and to remove him : since
Their thoughts, their objects, have been sounded, do not
Pou, with your wonted scruples, teach us pause,
And all will prosper.

Bar. Could I but be certain
This is no prelude to such persecution
Of the sire as has fallen upon the son,
I would support you.

Lor. He is safe, I tell you;
His fourscore years and five may linger on
As long as he can drag them: 'tis his throne
Alone is aim'd at.

Bar. But discarded princes
Are seldom long of life.

More seldom still.

Bar. And why not wait these few years 2

Lor. Because we have waited long enough, and he Lived longer than enough. Hence 1 in to council :

[Ereunt Loned ANo and BARBARIGo.

And men of eighty

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Mem. Thus hesitate 2 “The Ten" have call'd in aid Of their deliberation five and twenty Patricians of the senate – you are one, And I another; and it seems to me Both honour’d by the choice or chance which leads us To mingle with a body so august.

Sen. Most true. I say no more.

Mem. As we hope, signor,
And all may honestly, (that is, all those
Of noble blood may,) one day hope to be
Decemvir, it is surely for the senate's
Chosen delegates, a school of wisdom, to
Be thus admitted, though as novices,
To view the mysteries.

No doubt, are worth it.

I am silent. why

Let us view them: they,

* [“ Unnerved, and now unsettled in his mind
From long and exquisite pain, he sobs and cries,
Kissing the old man's cheek, ‘Help me, my Father :
Let ine, I pray thee, live once more among ye:

Something, at least to you or me.

Sen. I sought not
A place within the sanctuary; but being
Chosen, however reluctantly so chosen,
I shall fulfil my office.

Mem. Let us not
Be latest in obeying “ the Ten's” summons.

Sen. All are not met, but I am of your thought So far – let's in.

Mem. The earliest are most welcome In earnest councils—we will not be least so.


Enter the DoGE, JAcopo FoscARI, and MARINA.

Jac. Fos. Ah, father: though I must and will depart, Yet—yet — I pray you to obtain for me That I once more return unto my home," Howe'er remote the period. Let there be A point of time, as beacon to my heart, With any penalty annex'd they please, But let me still return.

Doge. Son Jacopo, Go and obey our country's will : 'tis not For us to look beyond.

Jac. Fos. But still I must Look back. I pray you think of me. Doge. Alas !

You ever were my dearest offspring, when
They were more numerous, nor can be less so
Now you are last ; but did the state demand
The exile of the disinterred ashes
Of your three goodly brothers, now in earth,
And their desponding shades came flitting round
To impede the act, I must no less obey
A duty, paramount to every duty.

Mar. My husband let us on ; this but prolongs Our sorrow.

Jac. Fos. But we are not summon'd yet; The galley's sails are not unfurl’d : — who knows 2 The wind may change.

Mar. And if it do, it will not Change their hearts, or your lot; the galley's oar Will quickly clear the harbour.

Jac. Fos. O, ye elements : Where are your storms ?

Mar. In human breasts. Alas ! Will nothing calm you ?

Jac. Fos. Never yet did mariner

Put up to patron saint such prayers for prosperous
And pleasant breezes, as I call upon you,
Ye tutelar saints of my own city which
Ye love not with more holy love than I,
To lash up from the deep the Adrian waves,
And waken Auster, sovereign of the tempest :
Till the sea dash me back on my own shore
A broken corse upon the barren Lido,
Where I may mingle with the sands which skirt
The land I love, and never shall see more :
Mar. And wish you this with me beside you ?
Jac. Fos. - No —
No-not for thee, too good, too kind May'st thou
Live long to be a mother to those children

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scene I. THE TWO FOSCAR.I. 293 Thy fond fidelity for a time deprives Mar. Away! Of such support But for myself alone, Let me support him—my best love : Oh, God .

May all the winds of heaven howl down the Gulf,
And tear the vessel, till the mariners,
Appall'd, turn their despairing eyes on me,
As the Phenicians did on Jonah, then
Cast me out from amongst them, as an offering
To appease the waves. The billow which destroys me
Will be more merciful than man, and bear ine,
Dead, but still bear me to a native grave,
From fishers' hands upon the desolate strand,
Which, of its thousand wrecks, hath ne'er received
One lacerated like the heart which then
Will be — But wherefore breaks it not ? why live I?

Mar. To man thyself, I trust, with time, to master
Such useless passion. Until now thou wert
A sufferer, but not a loud one : why,
What is this to the things thou hast borne in silence—
Imprisonment and actual torture ?

Jac. Fos. Double, Triple, and tenfold torture . But you are right, It must be borne. Father, your blessing.

Doge. Would It could avail thee but no less thou hast it.

Jac. Fos. Forgive

Doge. What?

Jac. Fos. My poor mother, for my birth, And me for having lived, and you yourself (As I forgive you), for the gift of life, Which you bestow'd upon me as my sire,

Mar. What hast thou done 2

Jac. Fos. Nothing. I cannot charge My memory with much save sorrow ; but I have been so beyond the common lot Chasten’d and visited, I needs must think That I was wicked. If it be so, may What I have undergone here keep me from A like hereafter :

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There must be life yet in that heart—he could not Thus leave me.

Doge. Daughter |

Mar. Hold thy peace, old man I am no daughter now—thou hast no son. Oh, Foscari :

Offi. We must remove the body.

Mar. Touch it not, dungeon miscreants : your base


Ends with his life, and goes not beyond murder, Even by your murderous laws. Leave his remains To those who know to honour them.

Offi. I must Inform the signory, and learn their pleasure.

Doge. Inform the signory from me, the Doge, They have no further power upon those ashes: While he lived, he was theirs, as fits a subject– Now he is mine—my broken-hearted boy

[Erit Officer.

Mar. And I must live :

Doge. Your children live, Marina.

Mar. My children true—they live, and I must live To bring them up to serve the state, and die As died their father. Oh! what best of blessings Were barrenness in Venice I Would my mother Had been so 2


Mar. What : You feel it then at last—you !—Where is now The stoic of the state 2

Doge (throwing himself down by the body). Here!

Mar. Ay, weep on 1 I thought you had no tears—you hoarded them Until they are useless; but weep on 1 he never Shall weep more—never, never more.

My unhappy children :

Enter Loited ANo and BARBARIgo. Lor. What's here 2 Mar. Ah! the devil come to insult the dead : Avaunt : Incarnate Lucifer 'tis holy ground. A martyr's ashes now lie there, which make it A shrine. Get thee back to thy place of torment Bar. Lady, we knew not of this sad event, But pass'd here merely on our path from council. Mar. Pass on. Lor. We sought the Doge. Mar. (pointing to the Doge, who is still on the ground by his son's body). He's busy, look, About the business you provided for him. Are ye content 2

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Bar. We will not interrupt Bur. Still so inexorable? A parent's sorrows. Lor. Still. Mar. No, ye only make them, Bar. But let him Then leave them. Inter his son before we press upon him Doge (rising). Sirs, I am ready. This edict. ur-. No — not now. Lor. Let him call up into life “ Lor. Yet 'twas important. My sire and uncle – I consent. Men may Looe. If 'twas sc, I can Even aged men, be, or appear to be, only repeat—I am ready. Sires of a hundred sons, but cannot kindle Bar. It shall not be An atom of their ancestors from earth.

Just now, though Venice totter'd o'er the deep

Like a frail vessel. I respect your griefs.
Doge. I thank you. If the tidings which you bring
Are evil, you may say them; nothing further -
Can touch me more than him thou look'st on there :
If they be good, say on: you need not fear
That they can comfort me.
Bar. I would they could !
Doge. I spoke not to you, but to Loredano.
He understands me.
Mar. Ah I thought it would be so.
Doge. What mean you ?
Mar. Lo: there is the blood beginning
To flow through the dead lips of Foscari–
The body bleeds in presence of the assassin.
[To Loned ANo.
Thou cowardly murderer by law, behold
How death itself bears witness to thy deeds !
Doge. My child this is a phantasy of grief.
Bear hence the body. [To his attendants.) Signors,
if it please you,
Within an hour I'll hear you.
[Ereunt Doge, MARINA, and attendants with the

body. Manent Lok EDANo and BARBARIGo.
Bar. He must not
Be troubled now.
Lor. He said himself that naught

Could give him trouble farther.

Bar. These arc words;
But grief is lonely, and the breaking in
Upon it barbarous.

Lor. Sorrow preys upon
Its solitude, and nothing more diverts it
From its sad visions of the other world,
Than calling it at moments back to this.
The busy have no time for tears.

Bar. And therefore You would deprive this old man of all business 2

Lor. The thing's decreed. The Giunta and “the

Ten "

Have made it law — who shall oppose that law 7

Bar. Humanity :

Lor. Because his son is dead 2

Bar. And yet unburied.

Lor. Had we known this when
The act was passing, it might have suspended
Its passage, but impedes it not— once past.

Bar. I'll not consent.

Lor, You have consented to All that's essential—leave the rest to me.

Bar. Why press his abdication now 2

Of private passion may not interrupt
The public benefit; and what the state
Decides to-day must not give way before
To-morrow for a natural accident.

Bar. You have a son.


The feelings

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The victims are not equal: he has seen
His sons expire by natural deaths, and I
My sires by violent and mysterious maladies.
I used no poison, bribed no subtle master
Of the destructive art of healing, to
Shorten the path to the eternal cure.
His sons—and he had four—are dead, without
My dabbling in vile drugs. i

Bar. And art thou sure | He dealt in such 7

Lor. Most sure.

Bar. And yet he seems All openness.

Lor. And so he seem'd not long

Ago to Carmagnuola.

Bar. The attainted
And foreign traitor?
Lor Even so : when he,

After the very night in which “the Ten”
(Join'd with the Doge) decided his destruction,
Met the great Duke at day-break with a jest,
Demanding whether he should augur him
“The good day or good night 7” his Dogeship an-

“That he in truth had pass'd a night of vigil,
In which (he added with a gracious smile),
There often has been question about you."'
'Twas true; the question was the death resolved
Of Carmagnuola, eight months ere he died;
And the old Doge, who knew him doom'd, smiled

on him [hand—
With deadly cozenage, eight long months before-
Eight months of such hypocrisy as is
Learnt but in eighty years. Brave Carmagnuola
Is dead; so is young Foscari and his brethren –
I never smiled on them.

Bar. Was Carmagnuola
Your friend ?
Lor. He was the safeguard of the city.

In early life its foe, but, in his manhood,
Its saviour first, then victim.

Bar. Ah that seems
The penalty of saving cities. He
Whom we now act against, not only saved |
Our own, but added others to our sway.

Lor. The Romans (and we ape them) gave a |


To him who took a city; and they gave
A crown to him who saved a citizen
In battle: the rewards are equal. Now,
If we should measure forth the cities taken
By the Doge Foscari, with citizens
Destroy'd by him, or through him, the account
Were fearfully against him, although narrow'd
To private havoc, such as between him
And my dead father.

* An historical fact. Sec Daru, tom. ii.

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