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The Ducal Palace. The Doge's Apartment.
The DOGE and his nephew BERTUCCIO FALIERO. Doge. Are all the people of our house in muster? Ber. F. They are array'd, and eager for the signal, Within our palace precincts at San Polo. 1 I come for your last orders.
It had been
As well had there been time to have got together,
Ber. F. Methinks, my lord, 't is better as it is:
Doge. True; but when once the signal has been These are the men for such an enterprise; [given, These city slaves have all their private bias, Their prejudice against or for this noble, Which may induce them to o'erdo or spare Where mercy may be madness; the fierce peasants, Serfs of my county of Val di Marino, Would do the bidding of their lord without Distinguishing for love or hate his foes; Alike to them Marcello or Cornaro,
The Doge's family palace.
Such blows Must be struck suddenly or never. When
I had o'ermaster'd the weak false remorse
Which yearn'd about iny heart, too fondly yielding
I was most fain to strike; and, firstly, that
I know not well the courage or the faith:
Than urge them when they have commenced, but till
Almost upon the dawn. Doge. Then it is time to strike upon the bell. Are the men posted?
By this time they are ; But they have orders not to strike, until They have command from you through me in person.
Dage. 'Tis well.-Will the morn never put to rest These stars which twinkle yet o'er all the heavens ? I am settled and bound up, and being so, The very effort which it cost me to
Resolve to cleanse this commonwealth with fire,
Yet (wouldst thou think it, kinsman ?) it hath been
To steel me to a purpose such as made
Ber. F. It gladdens me to see your former wisdom
It was ever thus With me; the hour of agitation came In the first glimmerings of a purpose, when Passion had too much room to sway; but in The hour of action I have stood as calm As were the dead who lay around me: this They knew who made me what I am, and trusted To the subduing power which I preserved Over my mood, when its first burst was spent. But they were not aware that there are things Which make revenge a virtue by reflection, And not an impulse of mere anger; though The laws sleep, justice wakes, and injured souls Oft do a public right with private wrong, And justify their deeds unto themselves. Methinks the day breaks-is it not so? look, Thine eyes are clear with youth; - the air puts on A morning freshness, and, at least to me, The sea looks greyer through the lattice.
The morn is dappling in the sky. 1
True, Away then! See that they strike without delay, and with The first toll from St. Mark's, march on the palace With all our house's strength: here I will meet
The Sixteen and their companies will move
Doge. Come hither, my Bertuccio - one embrace-
[Exit BERTUCCIO FALIERO. Doge (solus). He is gone, And on each footstep moves a life. - 'Tis done. Now the destroying angel hovers o'er Venice, and pauses ere he pours the vial, Even as the eagle overlooks his prey, And for a moment, poised in middle air, Suspends the motion of his mighty wings, Then swoops with his unerring beak. — Thou day! That slowly walk'st the waters! march-march onI would not smite i' the dark, but rather see
That no stroke errs.
And you, ye blue sea-waves !
["The night is clearing from the sky."— MS.]
2 [At last the moment arrives when the bell is to be sounded, and the whole of the conspiring bands are watching in impatience for the signal. The nephew of the Doge, and the heir of his house (for he is childless), leaves Faliero in his palace, and goes to strike with his own hand the fatal summons. The Doge is left alone; and English poetry, we think, contains few passages superior to that which follows. -LOCKHART.]
I have seen you dyed ere now, and deeply too,
But friend or foe will roll in civic slaughter.
I, at whose name the million's caps were flung
Hark! was there not
Sound till the strong tower rock! What! silent
I would go forth, but that my post is here,
To be the centre of re-union to
The oft discordant elements which form
Doge. And where are they, and why assembled? no Such council can be lawful, till the prince Preside there, and that duty's mine: on thine I charge thee, give me way, or marshal me To the council chamber.
Duke! it may not be:
Doge. And till that warrant has my signature
Doge (aside). I must gain time-So that the storm-bell sound [speed!All may be well yet. - Kinsman, speed-speedOur fate is trembling in the balance, and Woe to the vanquish'd be they prince and people, Or slaves and senate
[The great bell of Saint Mark's tolls. Lo! it sounds-it tolls! (aloud.) Hark, Signor of the Night! and you, ye hirelings,
Who wield your mercenary staves in fear,
Sig. Confusion! Stand to your arms, and guard the door-all's lost Unless that fearful bell be silenced soon. The officer hath miss'd his path or purpose, Or met some unforeseen and hideous obstacle. 3 Anselmo, with thy company proceed Straight to the Tower; the rest remain with me. [Exit part of the Guard.
Doge. Wretch! if thou wouldst have thy vile life, implore it; It is not now a lease of sixty seconds. Ay, send thy miserable ruffians forth; They never shall return.
The bloodhound mob on their patrician prey —
Doge. Peace, thou thing! Thou hast done a worthy deed, and earn'd the price Of blood, and they who use thee will reward thee. But thou wert sent to watch and not to prate, As thou saidst even now-then do thine office, But let it be in silence, as behoves thee, Since, though thy prisoner, I am thy prince.
Sig. I did not mean to fail in the respect Due to your rank: in this I shall obey you.
Doge (aside). There now is nothing left me save to die ;
And yet how near success! I would have fallen,
Enter other SIGNORS OF THE NIGHT, with BERTUCCIO
1st Sig. Are all the passes Which lead up to the palace well secured? [chiefs 2d Sig. They are- besides, it matters not; the Are all in chains, and some even now on trialTheir followers are dispersed, and many taken. Ber. F. Uncle !
Doge. It is in vain to war with Fortune; The Glory hath departed from our house. Ber. F. Who would have deem'd it? - Ah! one moment sooner! [of ages;
Doge. That moment would have changed the face This gives us to eternity—We'll meet it As men whose triumph is not in success, But who can make their own minds all in all, Equal to every fortune. Droop not, 'tis But a brief passage—I would go alone, Yet if they send us, as 'tis like, together, Let us go worthy of our sires and selves. Ber. F. I shall not shame you, uncle. 1st Sig. Lords, our orders Are to keep guard on both in separate chambers, Until the council call ye to your trial.
Doge. Our trial! will they keep their mockery up Even to the last? but let them deal upon us, As we had dealt on them, but with less pomp. 'Tis but a game of mutual homicides, Who have cast lots for the first death, and they Have won with false dice. Who hath been our Judas?
The Chief of the Ten, BENINTENDE. 3 Ben. There now rests, after such conviction of Their manifold and manifest offences, But to pronounce on these obdurate men The sentence of the law: a grievous task To those who hear, and those who speak. Alas! That it should fall to me! and that my days Of office should be stigmatised through all The years of coming time, as bearing record To this most foul and complicated treason Against a just and free state, known to all The earth as being the Christian bulwark 'gainst The Saracen and the schismatic Greek, The savage Hun, and not less barbarous Frank ; A city which has open'd India's wealth To Europe; the last Roman refuge from O'erwhelming Attila; the ocean's queen; Proud Genoa's prouder rival! 'Tis to sap The throne of such a city, these lost men Have risk'd and forfeited their worthless lives So let them die the death.
Ber. F. We stand to hear, and not to speak.
Are fully proved by your accomplices,
["While Manlius, who hurl'd
down} the Gauls," &c.
[The fifth Act, which begins with the arraignment of the original conspirators, is much in the style of that of Pierre and his associates in the old play. After them, the Doge is
Ben. What do you mean?
And, for the rest, all Venice knows her Doge,
Ben. Without doubt, he will be brought up to trial.
Cal. Then look well to thy proud self, President! For by the eternity which yawns before me, I swear that thou, and only thou, shalt be The traitor I denounce upon that rack,
If I be stretch'd there for the second time.
One of the Giunta. Lord President, 't were best proceed to judgment;
There is no more to be drawn from these men.
I. Ber. Signors, farewell! we shall not all again Meet in one place.
Ben. And lest they should essay To stir up the distracted multitude— Guards! let their mouths be gagg'd, even in the act Of execution. -Lead them hence !
Cal. What! must we Not even say farewell to some foud friend, Nor leave a last word with our confessor ?
Ben. A priest is waiting in the antechamber; But, for your friends, such interviews would be Painful to them, and useless all to you.
Cal. I knew that we were gagg'd in life; at least All those who had not heart to risk their lives Upon their open thoughts; but still I deem'd That in the last few moments, the same idle Freedom of speech accorded to the dying, Would not now be denied to us; but since
1. Ber. Even let them have their way, brave
What matter a few syllables? let's die
"Giovedi grasso"-" fat or greasy Thursday," which I cannot literally translate in the text, was the day.
2 Historical fact. See Sanuto, APPENDIX: Marino Faliero, Note A.
3 ["I know what Foscolo means, about Calendaro's spitting at Bertram; that's national - the objection, I mean. The Italians and French, with those flags of abomination' their pocket handkerchiefs, spit there, and here, and every where else-in your face alinost, and therefore object to it on the stage as too familiar But we who spit nowhere- but in a man's face when we grow savage are not likely to feel this. Remember Massinger, and Kean's Sir Giles Overreach Lord! thus I spit at thee and at thy counsel !' Besides, Calendaro does not spit in Bertram's face; he spits at him, as I have seen the Mussulmans do upon the ground when
Cul. Israel, hadst thou but hearken'd unto me It had not now been thus; and yon pale villain, The coward Bertram, would
I. Ber. Peace, Calendaro ! What brooks it now to ponder upon this.
Bert. Alas! I fain you died in peace with me;
Cal. (spitting at him). 3 I die and scorn thee!
Ben. Now that these criminals have been disposed of, "T is time that we proceed to pass our sentence Upon the greatest traitor upon record
In any annals, the Doge Faliero !
The proofs and process are complete; the time
The Giunta. Ay, ay.
Ben. Avogadori, order that the Doge
Be brought before the council.
One of the Giunta. And the rest, When shall they be brought up?
When all the chiefs Have been disposed of. Some have fled to Chiozza; But there are thousands in pursuit of them, And such precaution ta'en on terra firma, As well as in the islands, that we hope None will escape to utter in strange lands His libellous tale of treasons 'gainst the senate.
Enter the DOGE as Prisoner, with Guards, &c. §.c.
Ben. Doge- for such still you are, and by the law Must be consider'd, till the hour shall come When you must doff the ducal bonnet from That head, which could not wear a crown more noble Than empires can confer, in quiet honour, But it must plot to overthrow your peers,
Who made you what you are, and quench in blood A city's glory-we have laid already
Before you in your chamber at full length,
By the Avogadori, all the proofs
Which have appear'd against you; and more ample Ne'er rear'd their sanguinary shadows to
Confront a traitor.
What have you to say
In your defence?
What shall I say to ye,
Since my defence must be your condemnation ?
Your chief accomplices Having confess'd, there is no hope for you.
they are in a rage. Again, he does not in fact despise Bertram, though he affects it, as we all do, when angry with one we think our inferior. He is angry at not being allowed to die in his own way (although not afraid of death); and recollect that he suspected and hated Bertram from the first. Israel Bertuccio, on the other hand. is a cooler and more concentrated fellow he acts upon principle and impulse; Calendaro upon impulse and example. So there's argument for you. — The Doge repeats; -true, but it is from engrossing passion, and because he sees different persons, and is always obliged to recur to the cause uppermost in his mind. His speeches are long; true, but I wrote for the closet, and on the French and Italian model rather than yours, which I think not very highly of, for all your old dramatists, who are long enough too, God knows: look into any of them.". Byron Letters.]