Page images
PDF

Muffled to whisper curses to the night; 1 Lioni. Ay, is it even so? Excuse me, Disbanded soldiers, discontented ruffians,

Bertram; And desperate libertines who brawl in I am not worthy to be singled out taverns;

From such exalted hecatombs who are they Thou herdest not with such : 'tis true, of late That are in danger, and that make the I have lost sight of thee, but thou wert wont

danger? To lead a temperate life, and break thy Bertram. Venice, and all that she inherbread

its, are With honest mates, and bear a cheerful Divided like a house against itself, aspect.

And so will perish ere tomorrow's twilight! What hath come to thee? in thy hollow eyei Lioni. More mysteries, and awful ones! And hueless cheek,and thine unquiet motions,

But now, Sorrow and shame and conscience seem at Or thou, or I, or both, it may be, are war

Upon the verge of ruin; speak once out, To waste thee.

And thou art safe and glorious; for 'tis Bertram. Rather shame and sorrow light

more On the accursed tyranny which rides Glorious to save than slay, and slay i' the The very air in Venice, and makes men

dark tooMadden as in the last hours of the plague Fie, Bertram ! that was not a craft for thee! Which sweeps the soul deliriously from life! How would it look to see upon a spear Lioni. Some villains have been tamper- The head of him whose heart was open to ing with thee, Bertram;

thee, This is not thy old language, nor own Borne by thy hand before the shuddering thoughts;

people ? Some wretch has made thee drunk with And such may be my doom; for here I swear, disaffection;

Whate'er the peril or the penalty But thou must not be lost so; thou wert good of thy denunciation, I go forth, And kind, and art not fit for such base acts Unless thou dost detail the cause, and show As vice and villany would put thee to: | The consequence of all which led thee here! Confess - confide in me-thou know'st my Bertram. Is there no way to save thee? nature

minutes fly, What is it thou and thine are bound to do, And thou art lost!-thou! my sole beneWhich should prevent thy friend, the only

factor, son

The only being who was constant to me Of him who was a friend unto thy father, Through every change. Yet, make me not So that our good-will is a heritage

a traitor! We should bequeath to our posterity Let me save thee- but spare my honour! Sach as ourselves received it, or augmented; Lioni. Where I say, what is it thou must do, that I can lie the honour in a league of murder? Should deem thee dangerous, and keep the And who are traitors save unto the state ? house

Bertram. A league is still a compact, Like a sick girl ?

and more binding Bertram. Xay, question me no further : In honest hearts when words must stand I must be gone.

for law; Lioni. And I be murder'd!- say, And in my mind, there is no traitor like Was it not thus thou saidst, my gentle He whose domestic treason plants the poniard Bertram ?

| Within the breast which trusted to his truth. Bertram. Who talks of murder? what Lioni. And who will strike the steel to said I of murder ?

mine? T'is false! I did not utter such a word. Bertram. Not I; Lioni. Thou didst not; but from out I could have wound my soul up to all things thy wolfish eye,

Save this. Thou must not die! and think So changed from what I knew it, there how dear glares forth

Thy life is, when I risk so many lives, The gladiator. If my life's thine object, Nay, more, the life of lives, the liberty Take it, I am unarın’d,- and then away! of future generations, not to be I would not hold my breath on such a tenure The assassin thou miscall'st me;-once, As the capricious mercy of such things

once more As thou and those who have set thee to thy I do adjure thee, pass not o'er thy threshold! taskwork.

Lioni. It is in vain this moment I go Bertram. Sooner than spill thy blood,

forth. I peril mine;

Bertram. Then perisk Venice rather than Sooner than harm a hair of thine, I place . my friend! In jeopardy a thousand heads, and some I will disclose_ensnare betray-destroyAs noble, nay, even nobler than thine own. Oh, what a villain I become for thee!

Lioni. Say, rather thy friend's saviour | SCENE 11. - The Ducal Palace-the Doge's and the state's !

Apartment. Speak-pause not-all rewards, all pledges for

The Doge and his nephew Bertuccio FALIERO, Thy safety and thy welfare; wealth such as Doge. Are all the people of our house The state accords her worthiest servants;

in mister? nay,

B. Fal. They are array'd, and eager for Nobility itself I guarantee thee,

the signal, So that thou art sincere and penitent. Within our palace precincts at San Polo. Bertram. I have thought again : it must I come for your last orders. not be- I love thee

Doge. It had been Thou knowest it--that I stand here is the As well had there been time to have got proof,

together Not least though last; but having done my From my own fief, Val di Marino, more duty

Of our retainers, but it is too late.. By thee, I now must do it by my country!! B. Fal. Methinks, my lord, 'tis better Farewell!-we meet no more in life!

as it is; farewell !

A sudden swelling of our retinue Lioni. What, ho! Antonio–Pedro -- to Had waked suspicion; and, though fierce the door!

and trusty, See that none pass-arrest this man! - The vassals of that district are too rude

And quick in quarrel to have long maintain'd Enter ANTONIO and other armed Domestics, | The secret discipline we need for such who seize BERTRAM.

A service, till our foes are dealt upon. Lioni (continues). Take care

Doge. True; but when once the signal He hath no harm ; bring me my sword

has been given, and cloak;

These are the men for such an enterprise: And man the gondola with four oars— These city-slaves have all their private bias, quick

[Exit Antonio. Their prejudice against or for this noble, We will unto Giovanni Gradenigo's, Which may induce them to o'erdo or spare And send for Marc Cornaro :-fear not, Where mercy may be madness; the fierce ! Bertram ;

peasants, This needful violence is for thy safety, Serfs of my county of Val di Marino, No less than for the general weal. | Would do the bidding of their lord without Bertram. Where wouldst thou

Distingnishing for love or hate his foes; Bear me a prisoner?

Alike to them Marcello or Cornaro, Lioni. Firstly, to “The Ten;"

A Gradenigo or a Foscari; Next to the Doge.

They are not used to start at those vain Bertram. To the Doge?

names, Lioni. Assuredly;

Nor bow the knee before a civic senate: Is he not chief of the state ?

A chief in armour is their Suzerain, Bertram. Perhaps at sunrise --

And not a thing in robes. Lioni. What mean you?- but we'll know B. Fal. We are enough;

And for the dispositions of our clients Bertram. Art sure?

Against the senate I will answer. Lioni. Sure as all gentle means can Doge. Well, make; and if

The die is thrown; but for a warlike service, They fail, you know “The Ten” and their Done in the field, commend me' to my tribunal,

peasants; And that Saint Mark's has dungeons, and They made the sun shine through the host the dungeons

of Huns A rack.

When sallow burghers slunk back to their Bertram. Apply to it before the dawn

tents, Now hastening into heaven.-One more And cower'd to hear their own victorious such word,

trumpet. And you shall perish piecemeal, by the death If there be small resistance, you will find Ye think to doom to me.

These citizens all lions, like their standard ;

But if there's much to do, you'll wish,withme, Re-enter Antonio.

A band of iron rustics at onr backs. . Antonio. The bark is ready,

B. Fal. Thus thinking, I must marvel My lord, and all prepared.

you resolved Lioni. Look to the prisoner.

To strike the blow so suddenly. Bertram, I'll reason with thee as we go | Doge. Such blows To the Magnifico's, sage Gradenigo. . Must be struck suddenly or nerer. When

[Exeunt. l I had o'ermaster'd the weak false remorse

[ocr errors]

Which yearn'd about my heart, too fondly Timoleon immortal, than to face yielding

The toils and dangers of a life of war. A moment to the feelings of old days, B. Fal. It gladdens me to see your former I was most fain to strike; and, firstly, that

wisdom I might not yield again to such emotions; Subdue the furies which so wrung you ere And, secondly, because of all these men, You were decided. Save Israel and Philip Calendaro,

Doge. It was ever thus I know not well the courage or the faith: With me; the hour of agitation came To-day might find 'mongst them a traitor In the first glimmerings of a purpose, when to us,

Passion had too much room to sway; but in As yesterday a thousand to the senate; The hour of action I have stood as calm But once in, with their hilts hot in their As were the dead who lay around me; this hands,

They knew who made me what I am, and They must on for their own sakes; one

trusted stroke struck,

To the subduing power which I preserved And the mere instinct of the first-born Cain, Over my mood, when its first burst was spent. Which ever lurks somewhere in human But they were not aware that there are things hearts,

Which make revenge a virtue by reflection, Though circumstance may keep it in And not an impulse of mere anger; though abeyance,

The laws sleep, justice wakes, and injured Will urge the rest on like to wolves; the

souls sight

Oft do a public right with private wrong, Of blood to crowds begets the thirst of And justify their deeds unto themselves. more,

Methinks the day breaks - is it not so? look, As the first wine-cup leads to the long revel; Thine eyes are clear with youth ; - the air And you will find a harder task to quell

puts on Than urge them when they have commen- A morning-freshness, and, at least to me, ced; but till

The sea looks grayer through the lattice. That moment, a mere voice, a straw, a B. Fal. True, shadow

The morn is dappling in the sky, Are capable of turning them aside.

Doge. Away, then! How goes the night?

See that they strike without delay, and with B. Fal. Almost upon the dawn.

The first toll from St. Mark's, march on the Doge. Then it is time to strike upon the

palace bell.

With all our house's strength! here I will Are the men posted ?

meet youB. Fal. By this time they are;

The Sixteen and their companies will move But they have orders not to strike, until In separate columns at the self-same moThey have command from you through me - ment in person,

Be sure you post yourself by the great gate, Doge. Tis well. Will the morn never I would not trust “The Ten” except to usput to rest

The rest, the rabble of patricians, may These stars which twinkle yet o'er all the Glut the more careless swords of those heavens?

leagued with us. I am settled and bound up, and being so, Remember that the cry is still “Saint Mark! The very effort which it cost me to The Genoese are come-ho! to the rescue! Resolve to cleanse this cominonwealth with Saint Mark and liberty!”-Now- now to fire,

action! Now leaves my mind more steady. I have B. Fal. Farewell then, noble uncle! we wept,

will meet And trembled at the thought of this dread In freedom and true sovereignty, or never! duty;

Doge. Come hither, my Bertuccio-one But now I have put down all idle passion,

embrace And look the growing tempest in the face, Speed, for the day grows broader-Send As doth the pilot of an admiral-galley : 1 me soon Tet (wouldst thou think it, kinsman ?) it A messenger to tell me how all goes hath been

When you rejoin our troops, and then A greater struggle to me, than when nations

sound-sound Beheld their fate merged in the approaching The storm-bell from Saint Mark's ! fight,

[Erit Bertuccio Faliero. Where I was leader of a phalanx, where Doge (solus). He is gone, Thousands were sure to perish-Yes, to spill And on each footstep moves a life.- T'is done. The rank polluted current from the veins Now the destroying Angel hovers o'er of a few bloated despots needed more Venice, and pauses ere he pours the vial, To steel me to a purpose such as made Even as the Eagle overlooks his prey,

cen

And for a moment poised in middle air, Sound till the strong tower rock! -What, Suspends the motion of his mighty wings,

silent still? Then swoops with his unerring beak. I would go forth, but that my post is here, Thou day!

To be the centre of re-union to That slowly walk'st the waters! march- The oft discordant elements which form march on

Leagues of this nature, and to keep compact I would not smite i’ the dark, but rather see The wavering or the weak, in case of conflict; That no stroke errs. And you, ye blue For if they should do battle, 'twill be here, sea-waves!

Within the palace, that the strife will I have seen you dyed ere now, and deeply

thicken; ' too,

Then here must be my station as becomes With Genoese, Saracen, and Hunnish gore, I Tke master-mover.- Hark! he comes--he While that of Venice flow'd too, but vic

comes, torious:

My nephew, brave Bertuccio's messenger.-Now thou must wear an unmix'd crimson; no What tidings? Is he marching? Hath he Barbaric blood can reconcile us now

sped ?Unto that horrible incarnadine,

They here!-all's lost-yet will I make an But friend or foe will roll in civic slaughter. effort. And have I lived to fourscore years for this? I, who was named Preserver of the City ?

| Enter a SIGNOR OF THE Night, with Guards, I, at whose name the million's caps were Sign, of the Night. Doge, I arrest thee flung

of high treason! Into the air, and cries from tens of thousands Doge. Me! Rose up, imploring Heaven to send me Thy prince, of treason?Who are they blessings,

that dare And fame and length of days_to see this day? Cloak their own treason under such an order? But this day black within the calendar, Sign. of the Night (showing his order). Shall be succeeded by a bright millennium. Behold my order from the assembled Ten. Doge Dandolo survived to ninety summers Doge. And where are they, and why To vanquish empires and refuse their crown;

assembled ? no I will resign a crown, and make the state Such council can be lawful, till the prince Renew its freedom-butoh! by what means? Preside there, and that duty 's mine: on The noble end must justify them- What

thine Are a few drops of human blood? 'tis false, I charge thee, give me way, or marshal me The blood of tyrants is not human; they, To the council-chamber. Like to incarnate Molochs, feed on ours, Sign. of the Night. Duke, it may not be; Until 'tis time to give them to the tombs Nor are they in the wonted Hall of Council, Which they have made so populous.-Oh But sitting in the convent of Saint Saviour's world!

| Doge. You dare to disobey me then? Oh men! what are ye, and onr best designs, Sign. of the Night. I serve That we must work by crime to punish | The state, and needs must serve it faithfully; crime?

My warrant is the will of those who rule it. And slay as if Death had but this one gate, | Doge. And till that warrant has my When a few years would make the sword

signature superfluous ?

It is illegal, and, as now applied, And I, upon the verge of th’unknown realm, Rebellious-Hast thou weigh'd well thy Yet send so many heralds on before me?

life's worth, I must not ponder this. (A pause.) Hark! That thus you dare assume a lawless was there not

function? A murmur as of distant voices, and

Sign. of the Night. 'Tis not my office The tramp of feet in martial unison?

to reply, but actWhat phantoms even of sound our wishes I am placed here as guard upon thy person, raise !

And not as judge to hear or to decide. It cannot be -- the signal hath not rung- Doge (aside). I must gain time-So that Why pauses it? My nephew's messenger

the storm-bell sound, Should be upon his way to me, and he All may be well yet. - Kinsman, speed Himself perhaps even now draws grating

speed - speed !back

Our fate is trembling in the balance, and Upon its ponderous hinge the steep tower | Woe to the vanquish'd! be they prince and portal,

people, Where swings the sullen huge oracular bell, Or slaves and senateWhich never knells but for a princely death, [The great bell of Saint Mark's tolls. Or for a state in peril, pealing forth Lo! it sounds-it tolls! Tremendous bodements; let it do its office, Doge (aloud). Hark, Signor of the Night! And be this peal its awfullest and last! | and you, ye hirelings,

taken.

[ocr errors]

I LLIOLI

Who wield your mercenary staves in fear, | Second Signor. They are – besides, it It is your knell - Swell on, thou lusty peal!

matters not; the chiefs Now, knaves, what ransom for your lives? Are all in chains, and some even now on Sign. of the Night. Confusion !

trial Stand to your arms, and guard the door. Their followers are dispersed, and many

all's lost Coless that fearful bell be silenced soon. B. Fal. Uncle! The officer hath miss'd his path or purpose, Doge. It is in vain to war with Fortune; Or met some unforeseen and hideous obstacle. The glory hath departed from our house. Anselmo, with thy company proceed

B. Fal." Who would have deem'd it? Straight to the tower; the rest remain

Ah! one moment sooner! with me.

Doge. That moment would have changed [Erit a part of the Guard.

the face of ages; Doge. Wretch! if thou wouldst have thy This gives us to eternity- We'll meet it vile life, implore it;

| As men whose triumph is not in success, It is not now a lease of sixty seconds. But who can make their own minds all in all, Ay, send thy miserable ruffians forth; Equal to every fortune. Droop not, 'tis They never shall return.

But a brief passage I would go alone, Sign. of the Night. So let it be! Yet if they send us, as 'tis like, together, They die then in their duty, as will I. Let us go worthy of our sires and selves. Doge. Fool! the high eagle flies at nobler | B. Fal. I shall not shame you, uncle.

First Signor. Lords, our orders Than thou and thy base myrmidons,- live on, Are to keep guard on both in separate So thon provok'st not peril by resistance,

chambers, And learn (if souls so much obscured can bear Until the council call ye to your trial. To gaze upon the sunbeams) to be free. Doge. Our trial! will they keep their Sign. of the Night. And learn thou to mockery up be captive-It hath ceased, Even to the last? but let them deal upon us,

[The bell ceases to toll. As we had dealt on them, but with less pomp. The traitorous signal, which was to have set | 'Tis but a game of mutual homicides, The bloodhound - mob on their patrician Who have cast lots for the first death, and prey

they The knell bath rung, but it is not the senate's! Have won with false dice.- Who hath been Doge (after a pause). All's silent, and

our Judas? all's lost!

First Signor. I am not warranted to Sign. of the Night. Now, Doge, denounce me

answer that. As rebel slave of a revolted council ! B. Fal. I'll answer for thee-'tis a certain Have I not done my duty ?

Bertram, Doge. Peace, thou thing!

Even now deposing to the secret Gianta. Thou hast done a worthy deed, and earn'd Doge. Bertram, the Bergamask! With the price

what vile tools Of blood, and they who use thee will We operate to slay or save! This creature, reward thee.

Black with a double treason, now will earn But thou wert sent to watch,and not to prate, Rewards and honours,and be stampt in story As thou saidst even now - then do thine office, With the geese in the Capitol,which gabbled But let it be in silence, as behoves thee, Till Rome awoke and had an annual triumph, Since, though thy prisoner, I am thy prince. While Manlius, who hurl'd down the Gauls, Sign. of the Night. I did not mean to

was cast fail in the respect

From the Tarpeian. Due to your rank: in this I shall obey you. First Signor. He aspired to treason, Doge (aside). There now is nothing left And sought to rule the state. me save to die;

Doge. He saved the state, And yet how near success! I would have And sought but to reform what he revivedfallen,

But this is idle-Come, sirs, do your work. And proudly, in the hour of triumph, but | First Signor. Noble Bertuccio, we must

First Signor. Noble Ber

now remove you Enter other SIGNORS OF THE Night with |

Into an inner chamber.

B. Fal. Farewell, uncle!
BERTUCCIO FALIERO prisoner.

If we shall meet again in life I know not. Second Signor. We took him in the act But they perhaps will let our ashes mingle. of issuing from the tower,where,at his order, Doge. Yes, and our spirits, which shall As delegated from the Doge, the signal

yet go forth, Had thus begun to sound.

| And do what our frail clay, thus clogg'd, First Signor. Are all the passes

hath fail'd in! Which lead up to the palace well secured ? | They cannot quench the memory of those

To miss it thus !

M

« PreviousContinue »