Page images
PDF
[blocks in formation]

DRAMATIS PERSONE.
MEN.

WOMAN.
Francis FOSCARI, Doge of Venice.
JACOPO FOSCARI, Son of the Doge.

MARINA, Wife of young Foscari.
JAMES LOREDANO, a Patrician.
Marco MEMMO, a Chief of the Forty.
BARBABIGO, a Senator.

Scene- the Ducal Palace, Venice. Other Senators, the Council of Ten, Guards,

Attendants, etc.

A CT 1.

Barb. Yet pause-the number of our

colleagues is not SCENE I.-A Hall in the Ducal Palace. Complete yet; two are wanting ere we can Enter LOREDANO and BARBARIGO, meeting.

Proceed.

Lored. And the chief judge, the Dogo? Loredano. WHERE is the prisoner? Barb. No-he Barbarigo. Reposing from

With more than Roman fortitude is ever The question.

First at the board in this unhappy process Lored. The hour's past-fix'd yesterday Against his last and only son. For the resumption of his trial.-Let us Lored. True-trueRejoin our colleagues in the council, and His last. Urge his recal.

Barb. Will nothing move you? Barb. Nay, let him profit by A few brief minutes for his tortured limbs; Barb. He shows is not. He was o'erwrought by the question Lored. I have mark'd that - the wretch ! yesterday,

Barb. But yesterday, I hear, on his return And may die under it if now repeated. To the ducal chambers, as he pass'd the Lored. Well ?

threshold Barb. I yield not to you in love of The old man fainted. justice,

Lored. It begins to work, then. Or hate of the ambitious Foscari,

Barb. The work is half your own. Father and son, and all their noxious race; Lored. And should be all mine But the poor wretch has suffer'd beyond My father and my uncle are no more. nature's

Barb. I have read their epitaph, which Most stoical endurance.

says they died Lored. Without owning

By poison. His crime.

1 Lored. When the Doge declared that he Barb. Perhaps without committing any. Should never deem himself a sovereign till But he avow'd the letter to the Duke The death of Peter Loredano, both of Milan, and his sufferings half atone for The brothers sicken'd shortly: – he is Such weakness.

sovereign. Lored. We shall see.

Barb. A wretched one. Barb. You, Loredano,

Lored. What should they be who make Pursue hereditary hate too far.

Orphans ? Lored. How far?

Barb. But did the Doge make you so ? Barb. To extermination.

Lored. Yes. Lored. When they are

Barb. What solid proofs ? Extinct, you may say this.--Let's in to Lored. When princes get themselves council

| To work in secret, proofs and process are

Alike made difficult; but I have such Barb. To balance such a foe, il sacla Ofthe first,as shall make the second needless.

there be, Barb. But you will move by lav ? Thy father sits amongst thy judges. Lored. By all the laws

J. Foscari. True, Which he would leave us.

He judges. Barb. They are such in this

Barb. Then deem not the laws too harsh Our state as render retribution easier Which yield so much indulgence to a sire Than 'mongst remoter nations. Is it true As to allow his voice in such high matter 'That you have written in your books of As the state's safetycommerce

| J. Foscari. And his son's. I'm faint; (The wealthy practise of our highest Let me approach, I pray you, for a breath nobles),

Of air, yon window which o'erlooks the “Doge Foscari, my debtor for the deaths

waters. Of Marco and Pietro Loredano, My sire and uncle?"

Enter an Officer, who whispers BARBARIGA Lored. It is written thus.

Barb. (to the Guard) Let him approach. Barb. And will you leave it unerased?

I must not speak with him Lored. Till balanced.

Further than thus; I have transgress'd my Barb. And how?

duty
(Two Senators pass over the stage, as In this brief parley, and must now redeem it

in their way to "the Hall of the Within the Council-Chamber.
Council of Ten.

(Erit Barbarigo. Lored. You see the number is complete. (Guard conducting Jacopo Foscari to Follow me.

[Erit Loredano.

the window. Barb. (solus). Follow thee! I have fol Guard. There, sir, 'tis low'd long

Open-How feel you? Thy path of desolation, as the wave

J. Foscari. Like a boy-Oh Venice! Sweeps after that before it, alike whelming | Guard. And your limbs ? The wreck that creaks to the wild winds, J. Foscari. Limbs! how often have they and wretch

borne me Who shrieks within its riven ribs, as gush | Bounding o'er yon blue tide, as I hare The waters through them: but this son and

skimm'd sire

| The gondola along in childish race, Might move the elements to pause, and yet And, masqued as a young gondolier, anidst Must I on hardily like them-Oh! would My gay competitors, noble as I, I could as blindly and remorselessly ! Raced for our pleasure in the pride of Lo, where he comes !-Be still, my heart!

strength, they are

| While the fair populaceofcrowding beauties, Thy foes,must be thy victims : wilt thou beat Plebeian as patrician, cheer'd us on For those who almost broke thee? With dazzling smiles, and wishes andible, Enter Guards, with young Foscari as

And waving kerchiefs, and applauding hands,

Even to the goal!-How many a time havel prisoner.

Cloven with arm still lustier, breast more Guard. Let him rest.

daring, Signor, take time.

The wave all roughen'd; with a swimmer's J. Foscari. I thank thee,friend, I'm feeble; stroke But thou mayst stand reproved.

Flinging the billows back from my drench'd Guard. I'll stand the hazard.

hair, J. Foscari. That's kind :- I meet some And laughing from my lip the audacions pity, but no mercy;

brine, This is the first.

Which kiss'd it like a wine-cup, rising o'er Guard. And might be last, did they The waves as they arose, and prouder still Who rule behold us.

The loftier they uplifted me; and oft, Barb. (advancing to the guard) There In wantonness of spirit, plunging down. is one who does :

| Into their green and glassy gulfs,and making Yet fear not; I will neither be thy judge My way to shells and sea-weed, all unseen Nor thy accuser; though the hour is past, By those above, till they wax'd fearful; then Wait their last summons-lam of the Ten,” | Returning with my grasp full of such tokens And waiting for that summons sanction you As show'd that I had search'd the deep: Even by my presence: when the last call

exulting, sounds,

With a far-dashing stroke, and drawing deep Wo'll in together.-Look well to the prisoner! The long-suspended breath, again I spurn J. Foscari. What voice is that? 'tis The foam which broke around me, and Barbarigo's! Ah!

pursued Our house's foe, and one of my few judges. / My track like a gea-bird.--I was a boy theo:

Guard Be a man now : there never was | And the cold drops strain through my brow more need

as ifOf manhood's strength.

Butonward-1 have borne it--I can bear it.J. Foscari (looking from the lattice). My How looks my father? beautiful, my own,

Officer. With his wonted aspect. My only Venice, this is breath! Thy breeze, J. Foscari. So does the earth, and sky, Thine Adrian sea-breeze,how it fans my face!

the blue of ocean, Thy very winds feel native to my veins, The brightness of our city, and her domes, And cool them into calmness! How unlike The mirth of her Piazza -even now The hot gales of the horrid Cyclades, Its merry hum of nations pierces here, Which howl'd about my Candiote dungeon, Even here, into these chambers of the and

unknown Made my heart sick.

Who govern, and the unknown and the Guard. I see the colonr comes

unnumber'd Back to your cheek: Heaven send you Judged and destroy'd in silence,- all things strength to bear

wear What more may be imposed!- I dread to The self-same aspect, to my very sire! think on't.

Nothing can sympathize with Foscari, J. Foscari. They will not banish me Not even a Foscari.-Sir, I attend you. again ?-No-no,

[Ereunt Jacopo Foscari, Officer, etc. Let them wring on; I am strong yet. Guard. Confess,

Enter Memmo and another Senator. And the rack will be gpared yon.

Memmo. He's gone-we are too late:J. Foscari. I confess'd

think you the Ten Once-twice before: both times they exiled Will sit for any length of time to-day? me.

Senator. They say the prisoner is most Guard. And the third time will slay you.

obdurate, J. Foscari. Let them do so,

Persisting in his first avowal; but So I be buried in my birth - place; better More I know not. Be ashes here than aught that lives else-l: Memmo. And that is much ; the secrets where.

Of yon terrific chamber are as hidden Guard. And can you so much love the From us, the premier nobles of the state, soil which hates you?

As from the people. J. Foscari. The soil! – Oh no, it is the Senator. Save the wonted rumours, seed of the soil

Which (like the tales of spectres that are rife Which persecutes me; but my native earth Near ruin'd buildings) never have been Will take me as a mother to her arms.

proved, I ask no more than a Venetian grave, Nor wholly disbelieved : men know as little A dungeon, what they will, so it be here. Of the state's real acts as of the grave's

Unfathom'd mysteries.
Enter an Officer.

Memmo. But with length of time
Officer. Bring in the prisoner!

We gain a step in knowledge, and I look Guard. Signor, you hear the order. Forward to be one day of the decemvirs. J. Foscari. Ay, I am used to such a Senator. Or Doge? summons; 'tis

Memmo. Why, no, not if I can avoid it. The third time they have tortured me:- Senator. Tis the first station of the state, then lend me

and may Thine arm.

(To the Guard. Be lawfully desired, and lawfully Officer. Take mine, sir; 'tis my duty to Attain'd by noble aspirants. Be nearest to your person.

Memmo. To such J. Foscari. You !-you are he

I leave it; though born noble, my ambition Who yesterday presided o'er my pangs Is limited : I'd rather be an unit Away!--I'll walk alone.

Of an united and imperial Ten, Officer. As you please, signor;

Tban shine a lonely, though a gilded, The sentence was not of my signing, but

cipher.I dared not disobey the Council when Whom have we here? the wife of Foscari? J. Foscari, Bade thee stretch me on their

Enter Marina with a female Attendant. horrid engine.

Marina. What, no one?- I am wrong, pray thee touch me not that is, just now;

there still are two; The time will come they will renew that | But they are senators. order,

Memmo. Most noble lady, But keep off from mne till 'tis issued. As | Command as.

ook upon thy hands my curdling limbs Marina. I command !-Alas! my life Yuiver with the anticipated wrenching, Has been one long entreaty, and a vain one.

[ocr errors]

Mens. I understand thee, but I must Tolare; but_20_no_no_it must have been not answer.

A fearful pang which wrung a groan from Marisa ( fierody). True_sone dare ansver here are on the rack,

Senator. And feeling for thy husbaod's Or question sare those

Jroags, wouldst thon Mesas (interrupting her). High-bors Have him bear more than mortal pain, in dame! bethink thee

silence? Where thon nsw art.

Marins. We all must bear tortures. I Marisa. Where I nor am II pas

have not My husband's father's palace.

Left barrea the great house of Foscari, Mesmo. The Duke's palace.

Theagh they sweep both the Doge and son Maring. And his son's prison ;-true, I

froan life; have not forgot it;

I hare eadared as much in giving life And if there were no other nearer, bitterer To those who will succeed them as they can Remembrances, would thank the illastrious la learing it: but mine were joyfal pangs; Memmo

And yet they wrung me till I could have For pointing out the pleasures of the place. shrieka, Memmo. Be calm!

But did not, for my hope was to bring forth Marina (looking up towards kearen). I Heroes, and would not welcome them with am; but oh, thou eternal God!

tears. Canst thou continue so, with such a world? Memno. All's silent now. Memmo. Thy husband yet may be ab- Maring. Perhaps all's over, but solved.

I will not deem it, he hath nerved bimself, Marina. He is,

And now defies them.
In heaven. I pray yon signor senator,
Speak not of that; you are a man of office,

Enter an Officer hastily.
So is the Doge: he has a son at stake, T Memme. How now, friend, what seek you?
Now, at this moment, and I have a husband, Officer. A leech. The prisoner has fainted.
Or had : they are there withia, or were at

(Erit Officer. least

Memmo. Lady, An hour since, face to face, as judge and Twere better to retire. culprit :

Senator (offering to assist her). I pray Will he condemn him?

thee do so. Memmo. I trust, not

Marina. Oir! I will tend him. Marina. But if

Memmo. You! Remember, lady! He does not, there are those will sentence Ingress is given to none within those both.

chambers, Memmo. They can.

Except the Ten, and their familiars. Marina. And with them power and will Marina. Well, are one

I know that none who enter there return In wickedness:-my husband 's lost! As they have enter'd-many never; but Memmo. Not so;

They shall not balk my entrance. Justice is judge in Venice.

Memmo. Alas! this Marina. If it were so

Is but to expose yourself to harsh repulse, There now would be no Venice. But let it And worse suspense. Live on, so the good die not, till the hour Marina. Who shall oppose me ? Of nature's summons; but the Ten's is Memmo. They quicker,

Whose duty 'tis to do so. And we must wait on't. Ah! a voice of wail! Marina. . 'Tis their duty

(A faint cry within. To trample on all human feelings, all Senator. Hark!

| Ties which bind man to man, to emulate Memmo. Twas a cry of

The fiends, who will one day requite them in Marina. No, no; not my husband's - Variety of torturing ! Yet I'll pass. Not Foscari's.

| Memmo. It is impossible. Memmo. The voice was

Marina. That shall be tried. Marina. Not his : no.

Despair defies even despotism : there is He shriek! No; that should be his father's That in my heart would make its way part,

through hosts Not his - not his-he'll die in silence. With levell d spears ; and think you a few

[A faint groan again within. jailors Memmo. What!

Shall put me from my path? Give me, Again ?

then, way; Marina. His voice! it seem'd so: I will not This is the Doge's palace; I am wife Believe it. Should he shrink, I cannot of the Duke's son, the innocent Duke's son, cease

| And they shall hear this!

Memmo It will only servo

Lored. And so the Council must break More to exasperate his judges.

up, and Justice Marina. What

Pause in her full career, because a woman Are judges who give way to anger? they Breaks in on our deliberations? Who do so are assassins. Give we way. Barb. No,

[Erit Marina. That's not the cause; you saw the prisoner's Senator. Poor lady!

state.
Memmo. 'Tis mere desperation ; she Lored. And had he not recover'd ?
Will not be admitted o'er the threshold. I Barb. To relapse
Senator. And

Upon the least renewal.
Even if she be so, cannot save her husband. Lored. Twas not tried.
But, see, the officer returns.

| Barb. Tis vain to murmur; the majority [The officer passes over the stage In council were against you. with another person.

Lored. Thanks to you, sir, Memmo. I hardly

And the old ducal dotard, who combined Thought that the Ten had even this touch The worthy voices which o'erruled my own. of pity,

Barb. I am a judge ; but must confess Or would permit assistance to this sufferer.

that part Senator. Pity! Is't pity to recal to feeling of our stern duty, which prescribes the The wretch too happy to escape to death

question, By the compassionate trance, poor nature's And bids us sit and see its sharp infliction, last

Makes me wishResource against the tyranny of pain

Lored. What ? Memmo. I marvel they condemn him not Barb. That You would sometimes feel, at once.

As I do always. Senator. That's not their policy: they'd Lored. Go to, you're a child, have him live,

Infirm of feeling as of purpose, blown Because he fears not death; and banish him, About by every breath', shook by a sigh, Because all earth, except his native land, And melted by a tear-a precious judge To him is one wide prison, and each breath For Venice ! and a worthy statesman to Of foreign air he draws seems a slow poison, Be partner in my policy ! Consuming but not killing.

Barb. He shed
Memmo. Circumstance

No tears.
Confirms his crimes, but he avows them not. Lored. He cried out twice.
Senator. None, save the letter, which he Barb. A saint had done so,
says was written,'

| Even with the crown of glory in his eye, Address'd to Milan's dake, in the full know- At such inhuman artifice of pain ledge

As was forced on him: but he did not cry That it would fall into the senate's hands, For pity; not a word nor groan escaped him, And thus he should be re-convey'd to Venice. And those two shrieks were not in suppliMemmo. But as a culprit.

cation, Senator. Yes, but to his country: But wrung from pangs, and follow'd by And that was all he sought, so he avouches.

no prayers. Memmo. The accusation of the bribes Lored. He mutter'd many times between was proved.

his teeth, Senator. Not clearly, and the charge of But inarticulately. homicide

Barb. That I heard not ;
Has been annull'd by thedeath-bed confession You stood more near him.
Of Nicolas Erizzo, who slew the late Lored. I did so.
Chief of the Ten.

| Barb. Methought, Memmo. Then why not clear him? To my surprise too, you were touch'd with Senator. That

mercy, They ought to answer; for it is well known And were the first to call out for assistance That Almoro Donato, as I said,

When he was failing.
Was slain by Erizzo for private vengeance. Lored. I believed that swoon
Memmo. "There must be more in this His last.
strange process than

Barb. And have I not oft heard thee name The apparent crimes of the accused disclose - His and his father's death your nearest wish? But here come two of the Ten: let us Lored. If he dies innocent, that is to say, retire. (Exeunt Memmo and Senator. With bis guilt unavow'd, he'll be lamented.

| Barb. What, wouldst thou slay his Enter LOREDANO and BARBARIGO.

memory? Barb. (addressing Loredano) That were Lored. Wouldst thou have

too much: believe me, 'twas not meet His state descend to his children, as it must, The trial should go further at this inoment. If he die unattainted ?

« PreviousContinue »