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Of an united and imperial 66 Ten,"
Than shine a lonely, though a gilded cipher.— Whom have we here? the wife of Foscari ?
Enter MARINA, with a female Attendant. Mar. What, no one ?-I am wrong, there still are But they are senators. [two;
Most noble lady,
Mar. I command! - Alas! my life Has been one long entreaty, and a vain one. Mem. I understand thee, but I must not answer. Mar. (fiercely). Truc-none dare answer here save on the rack, Or question save those
Mem. (interrupting her). High-born dame !! be
think thee Where thou now art. Mar. Where I now am!-It was My husband's father's palace. Mem.
Mur. And his son's prison ! forgot it;
And if there were no other nearer, bitterer Remembrances, would thank the illustrious Memmo For pointing out the pleasures of the place.
Mem. Be calm !
Mar. (looking up towards heaven). I am; but oh, thou eternal God!
The Duke's palace. - true, I have not
Canst thou continue so, with such a world ? Mem. Thy husband yet may be absolved. Mar.
In heaven. I pray you, signor senator,
I trust not.
Mem. Mar. But if He does not, there are those will sentence both. Mem. They can. Mar. And with them power and will are one In wickedness: - my husband's lost! Mem.
Justice is judge in Venice.
Of nature's summons; but "the Ten's" is quicker,
[A faint cry within.
'Twas a cry of —
No, no; not my husband's
The voice was—
Not his no. He shriek! No; that should be his father's part, Not his not his he 'll die in silence.
[A faint groan again within.
Sen. And, feeling for thy husband's wrongs, wouldst thou
Have him bear more than mortal pain, in silence?
Mar. We all must bear our tortures. I have not
To those who will succeed them, as they can
Perhaps all's over; but I will not deem it: he hath nerved himself, And now defies them.
and his retinue of three hundred horse. According to Sanuto, the tournaments in the place of St. Mark lasted three days, and were attended by thirty thousand people.]
2 [There is great dignity and beauty in the language of Marina, when she will not believe that her lord can be so far overcome by the rack as to utter an unseemly cry. HEBER.]
Even if she be so, cannot save her husband.
Sen. Pity! Is 't pity to recall to feeling
Mem. I marvel they condemin him not at once.
Circumstance Confirms his crimes, but he avows them not.
Sen. None, save the Letter 1, which he says was written,
Address'd to Milan's duke, in the full knowledge
Chief of "the Ten." 2
Yes, but to his country; so he avouches.
Then why not clear him?
["Night and day,
Brooding on what he had been, what he was
A letter to the sovereign-prince of Milan,
Francesco Sforza. His father, when at work in the field, was accosted by some soldiers, and asked if he would enlist. Let me throw my mattock on that oak," he replied, " and if it remains there, I will." It remained there; and the peasant, regarding it as a sign, enlisted. He became soldier, general, prince; and his grandson, in the palace at Milan, said to Paulus Jovius, "You behold these guards and this grandeur: I owe every thing to the branch of an oak, the branch that held my grandfather's mattock."— ROGERS.
As I do always.
Lor. Go to, you 're a child, Infirm of feeling as of purpose, blown About by every breath, shook by a sigh, And melted by a tear-a precious judge For Venice! and a worthy statesman to Be partner in my policy!
Lor. His last.
That you would sometimes feel,
He cried out twice.
As was forced on him; but he did not cry
I did so.
To my surprise too, you were touch'd with mercy,
I believed that swoon
Bar. And have I not oft heard thee name
Soliciting his influence with the state, And drops it to be found."— ROGERS.]
2 [The extraordinary sentence pronounced against him, still existing among the archives of Venice, runs thus:"Giacopo Foscari, accused of the murder of Hermolao Donato, has been arrested and examined; and, from testimony, evidence, and documents exhibited, it distinctly appears that he is guilty of the aforesaid crime; nevertheless, on account of his obstinacy, and of enchantments and spells, in his possession, of which there are manifest proofs, it has not been possible to extract from him the truth, which is clear from parole and written evidence; for, while he was on the cord, he uttered neither word nor groan, but only murmured something to himself indistinctly and under his breath; therefore, as the honour of the state requires, he is condemned to a more distant banishment in Candia." Will it be credited, that a distinct proof of his innocence, obtained by the discovery of the real assassin, wrought no change in his unjust and cruel sentence? - See Venetian Sketches, vol. ii. p. 97.]
Lor. Would'st thou have His state descend to his children, as it must, If he die unattainted?
War with them too?
Lor. With all their house, till theirs or mine are nothing.
Bar. And the deep agony of his pale wife, And the repress'd convulsion of the high And princely brow of his old father, which Broke forth in a slight shuddering, though rarely, Or in some clammy drops, soon wiped away In stern serenity; these moved you not?
He's silent in his hate, as Foscari
Our foes, their former injuries, and lose
The instance of the elders of the Council,
A Hall in the DOGE's Palace.
The DOGE and a SENATOR.
I overlook'd it yesterday: it wants Merely the signature. Give me the pen [The DOGE sits down and signs the paper.
There, signor. Sen. (looking at the paper). You have forgot; it is not sign'd.
Doge. Not sign'd? Ah, I perceive my eyes begin To wax more weak with age. I did not see That I had dipp'd the pen without effect.1
Sen. (dipping the pen into the ink, and placing the paper before the DOGE). Your hand, too, shakes, my lord: allow me, thus
Doge. 'T is done, I thank you. Sen. Thus the act confirm'd By you and by "the Ten" gives peace to Venice. Doge. 'T is long since she enjoy'd it: may it be As long ere she resume her arms!
Sen. 'T is almost Thirty-four years of nearly ceaseless warfare
1 ["That I had dipp'd the pen too heedlessly."-MS.]
This prayer of yours was twice denied before
Of your lord renders them still more austere.
Mar. Austere? Atrocious! The old human fiends, With one foot in the grave, with dim eyes, strange To tears save drops of dotage, with long white And scanty hairs, and shaking hands, and heads As palsied as their hearts are hard, they council, Cabal, and put men's lives out, as if life Were no more than the feelings long extinguish'd In their accursed bosoms.
Till it meets! and when it meets, They'll torture him again; and he and I Must purchase, by renewal of the rack, The interview of husband and of wife, The holiest tie beneath the heavens!-Oh God! Dost thou see this?
Call me not "child!" You soon will have no children-you deserve noneYou, who can talk thus calmly of a son
In circumstances which would call forth tears
Alas! how should you? she knows not herself,
The sire's destruction would not save the son;
For all that yet is past, as many years
he has quench'd
I have said it. Mar. And can I not go with him?
You well know
You know not
Mar. I do I do—and so should you, methinks -
Or were at least in sceming, human, could
You know not what you say.
And feel it nothing.
Oh, no doubt! You have seen your son's blood flow, and your flesh shook not:
I forgive this, for
You know it well,
And, after that, what are a woman's words? [you. No more than woman's tears, that they should shake
Doge. Woman, this clamorous grief of thine, I tell Is no more in the balance weigh'd with that [thee, Which but I pity thee, my poor Marina !
Mar. Pity my husband, or I cast it from me; Pity thy son! Thou pity!-'t is a word Strange to thy heart - how came it on thy lips? Doge. I must bear these reproaches, though they wrong me. Couldst thou but read
'Tis not upon thy brow, Nor in thine eyes, nor in thine acts, -where then Should I behold this sympathy? or shall ?
Doge (pointing downwards). There!
In the earth? Doge. To which I am tending: when It lies upon this heart, far lightlier, though Loaded with marble, than the thoughts which press it Now, you will know me better. Mar.
Are you, then,
Indeed, thus to be pitied?
When I received it.
Mar. But for the poor children Of him thou canst not, or thou wilt not save, You were the last to bear it.
Doge. Would it were so! Better for him he never had been born; Better for me. I have seen our house dishonour'd.
Att. "The Ten." Doge.
Doge. He - but admit him.
'Tis their choice
Which leads me here.
We ? "The Ten" in council. Doge. What! have they met again, and met withApprising me? [out
[The interest of this play is founded upon feelings so peculiar or overstrained, as to engage no sympathy; and the whole story turns on incidents that are neither pleasing nor natural. The younger Foscari undergoes the rack twice (once in the hearing of the audience), merely because he has chosen to feign himself a traitor, that he might be brought back from undeserved banishment, and dies at last of pure dotage on this sentiment; while the elder Foscari submits, in profound and immoveable silence, to this treatment of his son, lest, by seeming to feel for his unhappy fate, he should
What should I think of mortals ? Lor. That they have mortal foes. Doge. I understand you; Your sires were mine, and you are heir in all things. Lor. You best know if I should be so. Doge.
Your fathers were my foes, and I have heard
Who dares say so?
Doge. IT is true Your fathers were mine enemies, as bitter As their son e'er can be, and I no less Was theirs; but I was openly their foe: I never work'd by plot in council, nor Cabal in commonwealth, nor secret means Of practice against life by steel or drug. The proof is, your existence.
I fear not. Doge. You have no cause, being what I am; but were I
be implicated in his guilt though he is supposed guiltless. He, the Doge, is afraid to stir hand or foot, to look or speak, while these inexplicable horrors are transacting, on account of the hostility of one Loredano, who lords it in the council of "the Ten," nobody knows why or how; and who at last "enmeshes" both father and son in his toils, in spite of their passive obedience and non-resistance to his plans. They are silly flies for this spider to catch, and "feed fat his ancient grudge upon."- JEFFREY.]