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Sanuto" saddles him with a judgment," as Thwackum did Square; but he does not tell us whether he was punished or rebuked by the Senate for this outrage at the time of its commission. He seems, indeed, to have been afterwards at peace with the church, for we find him ambassador at Rome, and invested with the fief of Val di Marino, in the march of Treviso, and with the title of Count, by Lorenzo Count-bishop of Ceneda. For these facts my authorities are Sanuto, Vettor Sandi, Andrea Navagero, and the account of the siege of Zara, first published by the indefatigable Abate Morelli, in his "Monumenti Veneziani di varia Letteratura," printed in 1796, all of which I have looked over in the original language. The moderns, Darù, Sismondi, and Laugier, nearly agree with the ancient chroniclers. Sismondi attributes the conspiracy to his jealousy; but I find this nowhere asserted by the national historians. Vettor Sandi, indeed, says, that "Altri scrissero che dalla gelosa suspizion di esso Doge siasi fatto (Michel Steno) staccar con violenza," &c. &c.; but this appears to have been by no means the general opinion, nor is it alluded to by Sanuto or by Navagero; and Sandi himself adds, a moment after, that “ per altre Veneziane memorie traspiri, che non il solo desiderio di vendetta lo dispose alla congiura ma anche la innata abituale ambizion sua, per cui anelava a farsi principe independente." The first motive appears to have been excited by the gross affront of the words written by Michel Steno on the ducal chair, and by the light and inadequate sentence of the Forty on the offender, who was one of their "tre Capi." The attentions of Steno himself appear to have been directed towards one of her damsels, and not to the "Dogaressa" herself, against whose fame not the slightest insinuation appears, while she is praised for her beauty, and remarked for her youth. Neither do I find it asserted (unless the hint of Sandi be an assertion), that the Doge was actuated by jealousy of his wife: but rather by respect for her, and for his own honour, warranted by his past services and present dignity.
I know not that the historical facts are alluded to in English, unless by Dr. Moore in his View of Italy. His account is false and flippant, full of stale jests about old men and young wives, and wondering at so great an effect from so slight a cause. How so acute and severe an observer of mankind as the author of Zeluco could wonder at this is inconceivable. He knew that a basin of water spilt on Mrs. Masham's gown deprived the Duke of Marlborough of his command, and led to the inglorious peace of Utrechtthat Louis XIV. was plunged into the most desolating wars, because his minister was nettled at his finding fault with a window, and wished to give him another occupation- that Helen lost Troy. -that Lucretia expelled the Tarquins from Rome-and that Cava brought the Moors to Spain that an insulted husband led the Gauls to Clusium, and thence to Rome-that a single verse of Frederick II. of Prussia on the Abbé de Bernis, and a jest on Madame de
[The Abbé's biographer denies the correctness of this statement." Quelques écrivains," he says, “qui trouvaient sans doute piquant d'attribuer de grands effets à de petites causes, ont pretendu que l'Abbé avait insisté dans le conseil pour faire déclarer la guerre à la Prusse, par ressentiment contre Frédéric, et pour venger sa vanité poétique, humilié par le vers du monarque bel-esprit et poëte
Evitez de Bernis la stérile abondance.'
Pompadour, led to the battle of Rosbach-that the elopement of Dearbhorgil with Mac Murchad conducted the English to the slavery of Ireland-that a personal pique between Maria Antoinette and the Duke of Orleans precipitated the first expulsion of the Bourbons—and, not to multiply instances, that Commodus, Domitian, and Caligula fell victims not to their public tyranny, but to private vengeance and that an order to make Cromwell disembark from the ship in which he would have sailed to America destroyed both king and commonwealth. After these instances, on the least reflection, it is indeed extraordinary in Dr. Moore to seem surprised that a man used to command, who had served and swayed in the most important offices, should fiercely resent, in a fierce age, an unpunished affront, the grossest that can be offered to a man, be he prince or peasant. The age of Faliero is little to the purpose, unless to favour it
"The young man's wrath is like straw on fire, But like red-hot steel is the old man's ire."
"Young men soon give and soon forget affronts, Old age is slow at both."
Laugier's reflections are more philosophical :"Tale fù il fine ignominioso di un' uomo, che la sua nascità, la sua età, il suo carattere dovevano tener lontano dalle passioni produttrici di grandi delitti. I suoi talenti per lungo tempo esercitati ne' maggiori impieghi, la sua capacità sperimentata ne' governi e nelle ambasciate, gli avevano acquistato la stima e la fiducia de' cittadini, ed avevano uniti i suffragj per collocarlo alla testa della republica. Innalzato ad un grado che terminava gloriosamente la sua vita, il risentimento di un' ingiuria leggiera insinuò nel suo cuore tal veleno che bastò a corrompere le antiche sue qualità, e a condurlo al termine dei scellerati; serio esempio, che prova non esservi età, in cui la prudenza umana sia sicura, e che nell' uomo restano sempre passioni capaci a disonorarlo, quando non invigili sopra
Where did Dr. Moore find that Marino Faliero begged his life? I have searched the chroniclers, and find nothing of the kind; it is true that he avowed all. He was conducted to the place of torture, but there is no mention made of any application for mercy on his part; and the very circumstance of their having taken him to the rack seems to argue any thing but his having shown a want of firmness, which would doubtless have been also mentioned by those minute historians, who by no means favour him: such, indeed, would be contrary to his character as a soldier, to the age in which he lived, and at which he died, as it is to the truth of history. I know no justification, at any distance of time, for calumniating an historical character: surely truth belongs to the dead, and to the unfortunate; and they who have died upon a scaffold have generally had faults enough of their own, without attributing to them that which the very incurring of the perils which conducted them to their violent death renders, of all others, the most improbable. The black veil
Je ne m'amuserai point à réfuter cette opinion ridicule; elle tombe par le fait, si l'abbé, comme dit Duclos, se déclara au contraire, dans le conseil, constamment pour l'alliance avec la Prusse, contre le sentiment même de Louis XV. et de Madame de Pompadour."- Bib. Univ.]
2 Laugier, Hist. de la Répub. de Venise, Italian translation, vol. iv. p. 30.
which is painted over the place of Marino Faliero amongst the Doges, and the Giants' Staircase where he was crowned, and discrowned, and decapitated, struck forcibly upon my imagination; as did his fiery character and strange story. I went, in 1819, in search of his tomb more than once to the church San Giovanni e San Paolo; and, as I was standing before the monument of another family, a priest came up to me and said, "I can show you finer monuments than that." I told him that I was in search of that of the Faliero family, and particularly of the Doge Marino's. "Oh," said he, "I will show it you;" and conducting me to the outside, pointed out a sarcophagus in the wall with an illegible inscription. He said that it had been in a convent adjoining, but was removed after the French came, and placed in its present situation; that he had seen the tomb opened at its removal; there were still some bones remaining, but no positive vestige of the decapitation. The equestrian statue of which I have made mention in the third act as before that church is not, however, of a Faliero, but of some other now obsolete warrior, although of a later date. There were two other Doges of this family prior to Marino; Ordelafo, who fell in battle at Zara in 1117 (where his descendant afterwards conquered the Huns), and Vital Faliero, who reigned in 1082. The family, originally from Fano, was of the most illustrious in blood and wealth in the city of once the most wealthy and still the most ancient families in Europe. The length I have gone into on this subject will show the interest I have taken in it. Whether I have succeeded or not in the tragedy, I have at least transferred into our language an historical fact worthy of commemoration.
on a jealousy in Faliero. But, perceiving no foundation for this in historical truth, and aware that jealousy is an exhausted passion in the drama, I have given it a more historical form. I was, besides, well advised by the late Matthew Lewis on that point, in talking with him of my intention at Venice in 1817. “If you make him jealous," said he, "recollect that you have to contend with established writers, to say nothing of Shakspeare, and an exhausted subject;stick to the old fiery Doge's natural character, which will bear you out, if properly drawn; and make your plot as regular as you can." Sir William Drummond gave me nearly the same counsel. How far I have followed these instructions, or whether they have availed me, is not for me to decide. I have had no view to the stage; in its present state it is, perhaps, not a very exalted object of ambition; besides, I have been too much behind the scenes to have thought it so at any time. 2 And I cannot conceive any man of irritable feeling putting himself at the mercies of an audience. The sneering reader, and the loud critic, and the tart review, are scattered and distant calamities; but the trampling of an intelligent or of an ignorant audience on a production which, be it good or bad, has been a mental labour to the writer, is a palpable and immediate grievance, heightened by a man's doubt of their competency to judge, and his certainty of his own imprudence in electing them his judges. Were I capable of writing a play which could be deemed stage-worthy, success would give me no pleasure, and failure great pain. It is for this reason that, even during the time of being one of the Committee of one of the theatres, I never made the attempt, and never will. But surely there is a dramatic power somewhere, where Joanna Baillie 4, and Millman 5, and John Wilson 6 exist. The "City of the Plague," and the "Fall of
It is now four years that I have meditated this work; and before I had sufficiently examined the records, I was rather disposed to have made it turn
1 [In February, 1817, Lord Byron writes to Mr. Murray"Look into Dr. Moore's View of Italy' for me: in one of the volumes you will find an account of the Doge Valiero (it ought to be Faliero) and his conspiracy, or the motives of it. Get it transcribed for me, and send it in a letter to me soon. I want it, and cannot find so good an account of that business here; though the veiled patriot, and the place where he was crowned, and afterwards decapitated, still exist and are shown. I have searched all their histories; but the policy of the old aristocracy made their writers silent on his motives, which were a private grievance against one of the patricians. I mean to write a tragedy on the subject, which appears to me very dramatic; an old man, jealous, and conspiring against the state, of which he was actually reigning chief. The last circumstance makes it the most remarkable, and only fact of the kind, in all history of all nations."]
[It is like being at the whole process of a woman's toilet -it disenchants."—MS.]
3 While I was in the sub-committee of Drury Lane Theatre, I can vouch for my colleagues, and I hope for myself, that we did our best to bring back the legitimate drama. I tried what I could to get "De Montfort" revived, but in vain, and equally in vain in favour of Sotheby's "Ivan," which was thought an acting play; and I endeavoured also to wake Mr. Coleridge to write a tragedy. Those who are not in the secret will hardly believe that the "School for Scandal" is the play which has brought least money, averaging the number of times it has been acted since its production; so Manager Dibden assured me. Of what has occurred since Maturin's
[The Rev Charles Maturin (a curate in Dublin) died in 1824. His first production, the House of Montorio," romance, is the only one of his works that has survived him. When he wished his family to be aware that the fit was on him, this fantastical gentleman used to stick a wafer on his forehead. -"Maturin," says Lord Byron." sent his Bertram' and a letter to the Drury Lane Committee, without his address; so that at first I could give him no answer; when I at length hit upon his residence, I sent him a favourable one, and something more substantial."]
"Bertram" I am not aware; so that I may be traducing, through ignorance, some excellent new writers: if so, I beg their pardon. I have been absent from England nearly five years, and, till last year, I never read an English newspaper since my departure, and am now only aware of theatrical matters through the medium of the Parisian Gazette of Galignani, and only for the last twelve months. Let me then deprecate all offence to tragic or comic writers, to whom I wish well, and of whom I know nothing. The long complaints of the actual state of the drama arise, however, from no fault of the performers. I can conceive nothing better than Kemble, Cooke, and Kean in their very different manners, or than Elliston in gentleman's comedy, and in some parts of tragedy. Miss O'Neill I never saw, having made and kept a determination to see nothing which should divide or disturb my recol lection of Siddons. Siddons and Kemble were the ideal of tragic action; I never saw any thing at all resembling them even in person for this reason, we shall never see again Coriolanus or Macbeth. When Kean is blamed for want of dignity, we should remember that it is a grace, and not an art, and not to be attained by study. In all, not SUPER-natural parts, he is perfect; even his very defects belong, or seem to belong, to the parts themselves, and appear truer to nature. But of Kemble we may say, with reference to his acting, what the Cardinal de Retz said of the Marquis of Montrose," that he was the only man he ever saw who reminded him of the heroes of Plutarch."
[Mrs. Baillie's "Family Legend" is the only one of her dramas that ever had any success on the stage.]
[The Rev. Henry Hart Millman, of Brazen Nose College, Oxford, for some time Professor of Poetry in that University, and now Rector of St. Margaret, Westminster. "Fazio, which he wrote before taking his first degree at Oxford, is the only one of his plays that has done well on the stage.]
6 [John Wilson, of Magdalen College, Oxford, now Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh,the well known author of the "Isle of Palms." "Margaret Lindsay," Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life," &c. &c., and the principal critic as well as humourist of Blackwood's Magazine.]
Jerusalem" are full of the best materiel for tragedy that has been seen since Horace Walpole, except passages of Ethwald and De Montfort. It is the fashion to underrate Horace Walpole; firstly, because he was a nobleman, and secondly, because he was a gentleman; but, to say nothing of the composition of his incomparable letters, and of the Castle of Otranto, he is the "Ultimus Romanorum," the author of the Mysterious Mother, a tragedy of the highest order, and not a puling love-play. He is the father of the first romance and of the last tragedy in our language, and surely worthy of a higher place than any living writer, be he who he may.
In speaking of the drama of Marino Faliero, I forgot to mention, that the desire of preserving, though still too remote, a nearer approach to unity than the irregularity, which is the reproach of the English theatrical compositions, permits, has induced me to represent the conspiracy as already formed, and the Doge acceding to it; whereas, in fact, it was of his own preparation and that of Israel Bertuccio. The other characters (except that of the Duchess), incidents, and almost the time, which was wonderfully short for such a design in real life, are strictly historical, except that all the consultations took place in the palace. Had I followed this, the unity would have been better preserved; but I wished to produce the Doge in the full assembly of the conspirators, instead of monotonously placing him always in dialogue with the same individuals. For the real facts, I refer to the Appendix.
Lord Byron originally designed to inscribe this tragedy to his friend, the late Mr. Douglas Kinnaird; but the dedication, then drawn up, has remained till now in MS. It is in these words :
"TO THE HONOURABLE DOUGLAS KINNAIRD.
"My dear Douglas, I dedicate to you the following tragedy, rather on account of your good opinion of it, than from any notion of my own that it may be worthy of your acceptance. But if its merits were ten times greater than they possibly can be, this offering would still be a very inadequate acknowledgment of the active and steady friendship with which, for a series of years, you have honoured your obliged BYRON.' and affectionate friend,"
At another moment, the Poet resolved to dedicate this tragedy to Goethe, whose praises of "Manfred" had highly delighted him; but this dedication shared the fate of that to Mr. Kinnaird :-it did not reach the hands of Goethe till 1831, when it was presented to him at Weimar, by Mr. Murray, jun. nor was it printed at all, until Mr. Moore included it in his Life of Lord Byron. It is to be regretted that Mr. Moore, in doing so, omitted some passages, which, the MS. having since been lost, we cannot now restore. "It is written," he says, " in the poet's most whimsical and mocking mood; and the unmeasured severity poured out in it upon the two favourite objects of his wrath and ridicule, compels me to deprive the reader of some of its most amusing passages.' The world are in possession of so much of Lord Byron's sarcastic criticisms on his contemporaries, and the utter recklessness with which he threw them off is so generally appreciated, that one is at a loss to understand what purpose could be served by suppressing the fragments thus characterised.
"TO BARON GOETHE*, &c. &c. &c. "Sir, In the Appendix to an English work lately translated into German and published at Leipsic, a judgment of yours upon English poetry is quoted as follows: That in English poetry, great genius, universal power, a feeling of profundity, with sufficient tenderness and force, are to be found; but that altogether these do not constitute poets,' &c. &c.
"I regret to see a great man falling into a great mistake. This opinion of yours only proves, that the Dictionary of ten thousand living English Authors' has not been translated into German. You will have read, in your friend Schlegel's version, the dialogue in Macbeth
"I mention these poets by way of sample to enlighten you. They form but two bricks of our Babel (WINDSOR bricks, by the way), but may serve for a specimen of the building.
"It is, moreover, asserted, that the predominant character of the whole body of the present English poetry is a disgust and contempt for life.' But I rather suspect that, by one single work of prose, you yourself have excited a greater contempt for life, than all the English volumes of poesy that ever were written. Madame de Staël says, that Werther has occasioned more suicides than the most beautiful woman; and I really believe that he has put more individuals out of this world than Napoleon himself, except in the way of his profession. Perhaps, Illustrious Sir, the acrimonious judgment passed by a celebrated northern journal upon you in particular, and the Germans in general, has rather indisposed you towards English poetry as well as criticism. But you must not regard our critics, who are at bottom good-natured fellows, considering their two professions,- -taking up the law in court, and laying it down out of it. No one can more lament their hasty and unfair judgment, in your particular, than I do; and I so expressed myself to your friend Schlegel, in 1816, at Coppet.
"In behalf of my ten thousand living brethren, and of myself, I have thus far taken notice of an opinion expressed with regard to English poetry' in general, and which merited notice, because it was YOURS.
My principal object in addressing you was to testify my sincere respect and admiration of a man, who, for half a century, has led the literature of a great nation, and will go down to posterity as the first literary character of his age.
"You have been fortunate, Sir, not only in the writings which have illustrated your name, but in the name itself, as being sufficiently musical for the articulation of posterity. In this you have the advantage of some of your countrymen, whose names would perhaps be immortal also if any body could pronounce them.
"It may, perhaps, be supposed, by this apparent tone of levity, that I am wanting in intentional respect towards you; but this will be a mistake: I am always flippant in prose. Considering you, as I really and warmly do, in common with
An Antechamber in the Ducal Palace.
Pie. Too long-at least so thinks the Doge.
These moments of suspense?
Pie. With struggling patience. Placed at the ducal table, cover'd o'er With all the apparel of the state; petitions, Despatches, judgments, acts, reprieves, reports, He sits as rapt in duty; but whene'er He hears the jarring of a distant door, Or aught that intimates a coming step, Or murmur of a voice, his quick eye wanders, And he will start up from his chair, then pause, And seat himself again, and fix his gaze Upon some edict; but I have observed For the last hour he has not turn'd a leaf.
['t was Bat. 'T is said he is much moved, and doubtless Foul scorn in Steno to offend so grossly.
Pie. Ay, if a poor man: Steno's a patrician, Young, galliard, gay, and haughty.
Then you think
He will not be judged hardly?
Pie. 'T were enough He be judged justly; but 't is not for us To anticipate the sentence of the Forty. Bat. And here it comes. What news, Vincenzo ?
Vin. Decided; but as yet his doom's unknown: I saw the president in act to seal The parchment which will bear the Forty's judgment Unto the Doge, and hasten to inform him. [Exeunt.
SCENE II. The Ducal Chamber.
all your own, and with most other nations, to be by far the first literary character which has existed in Europe since the death of Voltaire, I felt, and feel, desirous to inscribe to you the following work, not as being either a tragedy or a poem, (for I cannot pronounce upon its pretensions to be either one or the other, or both, or neither,) but as a mark of esteem and admiration from a foreigner to the man who has been hailed in Germany THE GREAT GOFTHE.' I have the honour to be, with the truest respect, your most obedient and very humble servant, BYRON.
"Ravenna, 8bre 14", 1820.
"P. S. I perceive that in Germany as well as in Italy, there is a great struggle about what they call Classical' and Romantic,- terms which were not subjects of classification in England, at least when I left it four or five years ago. Some
Ber. F. His peers will scarce protect him: such an act
Would bring contempt on all authority. [Forty? Doge. Know you not Venice? Know you not the But we shall see anon.
Ber. F. (addressing VINCENZO, then entering).
In the mean time the Forty doth salute
Doge. YesThey are wond'rous dutiful, and ever humble. Sentence is pass'd, you say?
Vin. It is, your highness: The president was sealing it, when I Was call'd in, that no moment might be lost In forwarding the intimation due
Not only to the Chief of the Republic,
But the complainant, both in one united.
Ber. F. Are you aware, from aught you have perOf their decision?
No, my lord; you know The secret custom of the courts in Venice. Ber. F. True; but there still is something given to guess,
Which a shrewd gleaner and quick eye would catch at:
More or less solemn spread o'er the tribunal.
Vin. My lord, I came away upon the moment,
Doge (abruptly). And how look'd he? deliver that. Vin. Calm, but not overcast, he stood resign'd To the decree, whate'er it were; but lo! It comes, for the perusal of his highness. Enter the SECRETARY of the Forty. Sec. The high tribunal of the Forty sends Health and respect to the Doge Faliero, Chief magistrate of Venice, and requests His highness to peruse and to approve The sentence pass'd on Michel Steno, born Patrician, and arraign'd upon the charge
of the English scribblers, it is true, abused Pope and Swift, but the reason was that they themselves did not know how to write either prose or verse; but nobody thought them worth making a sect of. Perhaps there may be something of the kind sprung up lately, but I have not heard much about it, and it would be such bad taste that I shall be very sorry to believe it." The illustrious Goethe was much gratified with this token of Lord Byron's admiration. He died at Weimar early in the year 1832-a year which swept away so many of the great men of the European world- among others, Cuvier and Scott.]
[The Avogadori, three in number, were the conductors of criminal prosecutions on the part of the state; and no act of the councils was valid, unless sanctioned by the presence of one of them.]
Ber. F. Forgive me, my good lord; I will obey (Reads) "That Michel Steno be detain'd a month In close arrest." 2
Doge. How, say you? 'tis falseGive me the paper-(Snatches the paper and reads) ."'Tis decreed in council That Michel Steno - Nephew, thine arm! Ber. F. Nay, Cheer up, be calm; this transport is uncall'd for— Let me seek some assistance.
Doge. 'Tis past.
Ber. F. I cannot but agree with you
Oh! that the Saracen were in Saint Mark's!
For the sake
Oh, that the Genoese were in the port !
My lord, 't is finish'd. finish'd! Do I dream?
Stop, Sir-Stir not
!["Marino Faliero, dalla bella moglie-altrì la gode, ed egli la mantiene."- SANUTO.]
2 [It is not in the plot only, that we think we can trace the injurious effects of Lord Byron's continental prejudices and his choice of injudicious models. We trace them in the abruptness of his verse, which has all the harshness, though not all the vigour, of Alfieri, and which, instead of that richness and variety of cadence which distinguishes even the most careless of our elder dramatists, is often only distinguishable from prose by the unrelenting uniformity with
Oh, that the Huns whom I o'erthrew at Zara Were ranged around the palace!
'Tis not well
In Venice' Duke to say so.
Doge (interrupting him). There is no such thing – It is a word-nay, worse—a worthless by-word : The most despised, wrong'd, outraged, helpless wretch,
Who begs his bread, if 'tis refused by one,
[doneDoge (interrupting him). You see what it has I ask'd no remedy but from the law
which it is divided into decasyllabic portions. The sentence of the College of Justice was likely, indeed, to be prosaic; and Shakspeare and our other elder tragedians would have given it as bona fide prose, without that affectation (for which, however, Lord Byron has many precedents in modern times) which condemns letters, proclamations, the speeches of the vulgar, and the outcries of the rabble and the soldiery, to strut in the same precise measure with the lofty musings and dignified resentment of the powerful and the wise:but Bertruccio Faliero might as well have spoken poetry. — HEBER.]