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Its false and true enchantments-art and nature, Who can this man be? Which swarm before my giddy eyes, that drank [Exit Antonio, and returns with BERTRAM the sight of beauty as the parch'd pilgrim's
muffled. On Arab sands the false mirage, which offers
My good lord Lioni, A lucid lake to his eluded thirst,
I have no time to lose, nor thou-dismiss Are gone. --Around me are the stars and waters, This menial hence; I would be private with you. Worlds mirror'd in the ocean, goodlier sight Lioni. It seems the voice of Bertram-Go, AntoThan torches glared back by a gaudy glass ;
(Exit ANTONIO. And the great element, which is to space
Now, stranger, what would you at such an hour? What ocean is to earth, spreads its blue depths, Ber. (discovering himself.) A boon, my noble Soften'd with the first breathings of the spring;
patron; you have granted The high moon sails upon her beauteous way, Many to your poor client, Bertram ; add Serenely smoothing o'er the lofty walls
This one, and make him happy. Of those tall piles and sea-girt palaces,
Thou hast known me Whose porphyry pillars, and whose costly fronts, From boyhood, ever ready to assist thee Fraught with the orient spoil of many marbles, In all fair objects of advancement, which Like altars ranged along the broad canal,
Beseem one of thy station; I would promise Seem each a trophy of some mighty deed
Ere thy request was heard, but that the hour, Rear'd up from out the waters, scarce less strangely Thy bearing, and this strange and hurried mode Than those more massy and mysterious giants Of suing, gives me to suspect this visit Of architecture, those Titanian fabrics,
Hath some mysterious import—but say onWhich point in Egypt's plains to times that have What has occurred, some rash and sudden broil ? No other record. All is gentle : nought
A cup too much, a scuffle, and a stab?Stirs rudely ; but, congenial with the night, Mere things of every day; so that thou hast not Whatever walks is gliding like a spirit.
Spilt noble blood, I guarantee thy safety; The tinklings of some vigilant guitars
But then thou must withdraw, for angry friends Of sleepless lovers to a wakeful mistress, And relatives, in the first burst of vengeance, And cautious opening of the casement, showing Are things in Venice deadlier than the laws. That he is not unheard; while her young hand, Ber. My lord, I thank you ; butFair as the moonlight of which it seems a part, Lionı.
But what? You have not So delicately white, it trembles in
Raised a rash hand against one of our order ? The act of opening the forbidden lattice,
If so, withdraw and fly, and own it not; To let in love through music, makes his heart I would not slay—but then I must not save thee ! Thrill like his lyre-strings at the sight;-the dash He who has shed patrician blood Phosphoric of the oar, or rapid twinkle
I come Of the far lights of skimming gondolas,
To save patrician blood, and not to shed it! And the responsive voices of the choir
And thereunto I must be speedy, for Of boatmen answering back with verse for verse ; Each minute lost may lose a life; since Time Some dusky shadow checkering the Rialto ; Has changed his slow scythe for the two-edged Some glimmering palace roof, or tapering spire,
sword, Are all the sights and sounds which here pervade And is about to take, instead of sand, The ocean-born and earth-commanding city- The dust from sepulchres to fill his hour-glass !How sweet and soothing is this hour of calm ! Go not thou forth to-morrow! I thank thee, Night! for thou hast chased away Lioni.
Wherefore not? Those horrid bodements which, amidst the throng, What means this menace ? I could not dissipate ; and with the blessing
Do not seek its meaning Of thy benign and quiet influence,
But do as I implore thee ;-stir not forth, Now will I to my couch, although to rest
Whate'er be stirring; though the roar of crowdsIs almost wronging such a night as this
The cry of women, and the shrieks of babes [A knocking is heard from without. The groans of men-the clash of arms—the sound Hark! what is that? or who at such a moment? Of rolling drum, shrill trump, and hollow bell,
Peal in one wide alarum I-Go not forth
Until the tocsin's silent, nor ever, then
Lioni. Again, what does this mean?
Ber. Again, I tell thee, ask not; but by all
By all thou hast of blest in hope or memory Lioni. 'Tis a strange hour, and a suspicious By all thou hast to fear here or hereafter bearing!
By all the good deeds thou hast done to me, And yet there is slight peril: 'tis not in
Good I would now repay with greater good,
And to my word for safety, if thou dost
Lioni. I am indeed already lost in wonder ;
Who are my foes? or if there be such, why This is not thy own language not own thoughts; Art thou leagued with them ?-thou! or if so leagued, Some wretch has made thee drunk with disaffection: Why comest thou to tell me at this hour,
But thou must not be lost so; thou wert good And not before ?
And kind, and art not fit for such base acts
As vice and villany would put thee too:
Lioni. I was not born to shrink from idle threats, What is it thou and thine are bound to do, The cause of which I know not: at the hour Which should prevent thy friend, the only son Of council, be it soon or late, I shall not
Of him who was a friend unto thy father, Be found among the absent.
So that our good-will is a heritage Ber.
Say not so!
We should bequeath to our posterity
Should deem thee dangerous, and keep the house
Nay, question me no further Lioni. Stay—there is more in this than my own I must be gone. safety
And I be murder'd !-say, Which makes me call thee back: we must not part Was it not thus thou said'st, my gentle Bertram ? thus.
Ber. Who talks of murder? what said I of Bertram, I have known thee long.
From childhood, signor, 'Tis false! I did not utter such a word. You have been my protector; in the days
Lioni. Thou didst not; but from out thy wolfish Of reckless infancy, when rank forgets,
eye, Or, rather, is not yet taught to remember So changed from what I knew it, there glares forth Its cold prerogative, we play'd together;
The gladiator. If my life's thine object, Our sports, our smiles, our tears, were mingled oft; Take it, I am unarm'd-and then away! My father was your father's client, I
I would not hold my breath on such a tenure His son's scarce less than foster-brother; years As the capricious mercy of such things Saw us together-happy, heart-full hours ! As thou and those who have set thee to thy task. Oh God! the difference 'twixt those hours and this !
work. Lioni. Bertram, 'tis thou who hast forgotten them. Ber. Sooner than spill thy blood, I peril mine;
Ber. Nor now, nor ever; whatsoe'er betide, Sooner than harm a hair of thine, I place I would have saved you: when to manhood's growth In jeopardy a thousand heads, and some We sprung, and you, devoted to the state, As noble, nay, even nobler than thine own. As suits your station, the more humble Bertram Lioni. Ay, is it even so ? Excuse me, Bertram; Was left unto the labors of the humble,
I am not worthy to be singled out
Ber. Venice, and all that she inherits, are
Lioni. More mysteries, and awful ones! But Has proved to me, the poor plebeian Bertram.
now, Would that thy fellow senators were like thee? Or thou, or I, or both, it may be, are Lioni. Why, what hast thou to say against the Upon the verge of ruin ; speak once out, senate?
And thou art safe and glorious; for 'tis more Ber. Nothing.
Glorious to save than slay, and slay i’ the dark Lioni. I know that there are angry spirits
The head of him whose heart was open to thee,
Through every change. Yet, make me not • Ber. Rather shame and sorrow light
traitor! On the accursed tyranny which rides
Let me save thee-but spare my honor ! The very air in Venice, and makes men
Where Madden as in the last hours of the plague Can lie the honor in a league of murder? Which sweeps the soul deliriously from life! And who are traitors save unto the state ? Lioni. Some villains have been tampering with Ber. A league is still a compact, and more binding thee, Bertram :
In honest hearts when words must stand for law;
And in my mind, there is no traitor like
The Ducal Palace—the Doge's Apartment.
The Doge and his nephew BERTUCCIO FALIERO. I could have wound my soul up to all things Doge. Are all the people of our house in muster? Save this. Thou must not die! and think how dear Ber. F. They are array'd and eager for the signal, Thy life is, when I risk so many lives,
Within our palace precincts at San Polo.4 Nay, more, the life of lives, the liberty
I come for your last orders. Of future generations, not to be
It had been The assassin thou miscall'st me;-once, once more As well had there been time to have got together, I do adjure thee, pass not o'er thy threshold ! From my own fief, Val di Marino, more Lioni. It is in vain-this moment I go forth. Of our retainers—but it is too late.
Ber. Then perish Venice rather than my friend! Ber. F. Methinks, my lord, 'tis better as it is I will disclose-ensnare-betray-destroy
A sudden swelling of our retinue Oh, what a villain I become for thee!
Had waked suspicion; and, though fierce and trusty, Lioni. Say, rather thy friend's savior and the The vassals of that district are too rude state's
And quick in quarrel to have long maintain'd Speak—pause not-all rewards, all pledges for The secret discipline we need for such Thy safety and thy welfare; wealth such as A service, till our foes are dealt upon. The state accords her worthiest servants; nay, Doge. True ; but when once the signal has been Nobility itself I guarantee thee,
given, So that thou art sincere and penitent.
These are the men for such an enterprise ; Ber. I have thought again: it must not be-I These city slaves have all their private bias, love thee
Their prejudice against or for this noble,
Lioni. What, ho!-Antonio–Pedro-to the door! Distinguishing for love or hate his foes;
Alike to them Marcello or Cornaro,
A Gradenigo or a Foscari ; Enter ANTONIO and other armed Domestics, who They are not used to start at those vain names, seize BERTRAM.
Nor bow the knee before a civic senate;
A chief in armor is their Suzerain, Lioni, (continues.)
And not a thing in robes. He hath no harm; bring me my sword and cloak,
We are enough; And man the gondola with four oars-quick
And for the dispositions of our clients [Exit AxroxiO.
Against the senate I will answer. We will unto Giovanni Gradenigo's,
Well, And send for Marc Cornaro ;-- fear not, Bertram;
The die is thrown; but for a warlike service, This needful violence is for thy safety,
Done in the field, commend me to my peasants ; No less than for the general weal.
They made the sun shine through the host of Huns Ber.
Where wouldst thou when sallow burghers slunk baek to their tents, Bear me a prisoner ?
And cower'd to hear their own victorious trumpet. Lioni.
Firstly to “the Ten;" Next to the Doge.
If there be small resistance, you will find
These citizens all lions, like their standard;
But if there's much to do, you'll wish with me, Lioni.
A band of iron rustics at our backs. Is he not chief of the state ?
Ber F. Thus thinking, I must marvel you resolve Ber.
Perhaps at sunrise
To strike the blow so suddenly. Lioni. What mean you ?—but we'll know anon.
Such blows Ber.
Art sure ?
Must be struck suddenly or never. When Lioni. Sure as all gentle means can make; and if
I had o'ermaster'd the weak false remorse They fail, you know the Ten” and their tribunal, which yearn'd about my heart too fondly yielding And that Saint Mark's has dungeons, and the A moment to the feelings of old days, dungeons
I was most fain to strike; and, firstly, that
I might not yield again to such emotions ;
And, secondly, because of all these men,
I knew not well the courage or the faith: You think to doom to me.
To-day might find ’mong them a traitor to us,
As yesterday a thousand to the senate ;
But once in, with their hilts hot in their hands, Ant.
The bark is ready, They must on for their own sakes ; one stroke struck, My lord, and all prepared.
And the mere instinct of the first-born Cain, Lioni.
Look to the prisoner. Which ever lurks somewhere in human hearts, Bertram, I'll reason with thee as we go
Though circumstance may keep it in abeyance, To the Magnifico's, sage Gradenigo. [Exeunt.'Will urge the rest on like to wolves; the sight
Of blood to crowds begets the thirst of more, Glut the more careless swords of those leagued As the first wine-cup leads to the long revel; And you will find a harder task to quell
Remember that the cry is still “Saint Mark! Than urge them when they have commenced, but The Genoese are come-ho! to the rescue ! till
Saint Mark and liberty!"-Now-now to action! That moment a mere voice, a straw, a shadow, Ber. F. Farewell then, noble uncle ! we will meer Are capable of turning them aside.
In freedom and true sovereignty, or never! How goes the night?
Doge. Come hither, my Bertuccio-one embrace Ber. F.
Almost upon the dawn. Speed, for the day grows broader-Send me soon Doge. Then it is time to strike upon the bell. A messenger to tell me how all goes Are the men posted ?
When you rejoin our troops, and then soundBer. F. By this time they are;
sound But they have orders not to strike, until
The storm-bell from Saint Mark's! They have command from you through me in person.
[Exit BERTUCCIO FALIERO. Doge. "Tis well.—Will the morn never put to rest Doge, (solus.)
He is gone, These stars which twinkle yet o'er all the heavens? And on each footstep moves a life.—'Tis done. I am settled and bound up, and being so,
Now the destroying Angel hovers o'er The very effort which it cost me to
Venice, and pauses ere he pours the vial, Resolve to cleanse this commonwealth with fire, Even as the eagle overlooks his prey, Now leaves my mind more steady. I have wept, And for a moment, poised in middle air, And trembled at the thought of this dread duty, Suspends the motion of his mighty wings, But now I have put down all idle passion, Then swoops with his uncrring beak.—Thou day! And look the growing tempest in the face, That slowly walk'st the waters ! march-march onAs doth the pilot of an admiral galley :
I would not smite i' the dark, but rather see Yet (wouldst thou think it, kinsman ?) it hath been That no stroke errs. And you, ye blue sea-waves ! A greater struggle to me, than when nations I have seen you dyed ere now, and deeply too, Beheld their fate merged in the approaching fight With Genoese, Saracen, and Hunnish gore, Where I was leader of a phalanx, where
While that of Venice flow'd too, but victorious : Thousands were sure to perish-Yes, to spill Now thou must wear an unmix'd crimson ; no The rank polluted current from the veins
Barbaric blood can reconcile us now Of a few bloated despots needed more
Unto that horrible incarnadine, To steel me to a purpose such as made
But friend or foe will roll in civic slaughter. Timoleon immortal, than to face
And have I lived to fourscore years for this? The toils and dangers of a life of war.
I, who was named Preserver of the City ? Ber. F. It gladdens me to see your former wis- I, at whose name the million's caps were flung dom
Into the air, and cries from tens of thousands Subdue the furies which so wrung you ere Rose up, imploring Heaven to send me blessings, You were decided.
And fame, and length of days to see this day? Doge. It was ever thus
But this day, black within the calendar, With me; the hour of agitation came
Shall be succeeded by a bright millennium. In the first glimmerings of a purpose, when Doge Dandolo survived to ninety summers Passion had too much room to sway; but in To vanquish empires, and refuse their crown. The hour of action I have stood as calm
I will resign a crown, and make the state As were the dead who lay around me: this Renew its freedom-but oh! by what means ? They knew who made me what I am, and trusted The noble end must justify them-What To the subduing power which I preserved
Are a few drops of human blood ? 'tis false, Over my mood, when its first burst was spent. The blood of tyrants is not human; they, But they were not aware that there are things Like to incarnate Molochs, feed on ours, Which make revenge a virtue by reflection, Until 'tis time to give them to the tombs And not an impulse of mere anger; though Which they have made so populous.-Oh world! The laws sleep, justice wakes, and injured souls Oh men! what are ye, and our best designs, Oft do a public right with private wrong,
That we must work by crime to punish crime? And justify their deeds unto themselves.- And slay as if Death had but this one gate, Methinks the day breaks-is it not so ? look, When a few years would make the sword superThine eyes are clear with youth ;--the air puts on
fluous ? A morning freshness, and, at least to me, And I, upon the verge of th' unknown realm, The sea looks grayer through the lattice.
Yet send so many heralds on before me :-
[A pause. The morn is dappling in the sky.
Hark! was there not Doge.
Away then! A murmur as of distant voices, and See that they strike without delay, and with The tramp of feet in martial unison? The first toll from St. Mark's, march on the palace What phantoms even of sound our wishes raise With all our house's strength; here I will meet It cannot be the signal hath not rungyou
Why pauses it? My nephew's messenger The Sixteen and their companies will move Should be upon his way to me, and he In separate columns at the self-same moment- Himself perhaps even now draws grating back Be sure you post yourself by the great gate; Upon its ponderous hinge the steep tower portal, I would not trust “the Ten” except to us- Where swings the sullen huge oracular bell, The rest, the rabble of patricians, may
Which never knells but for a princely death,
Or for a state in peril, pealing forth
| It is not now a lease of sixty seconds. Tremendous bodements ; let it do its office, Ay, send thy miserable ruffians forth; And be this peal its awfullest and last.
They never shall return. Sound till the strong tower rock !-What! silent Sig.
So let it be! still ?
They die then in their duty, as will I. I would go forth, but that my post is here,
Doge. Fool! the high eagle flies at pobler game To be the centre of reunion to
Than thou and thy base myrmidons,-live on, The oft discordant elements which form
So thou provok'st not peril by resistance, Leagues of this nature, and to keep compact And learn (if souls so much obscured can bear The wavering of the weak, in case of conflict; To gaze upon the sunbeams) to be free. For if they should do battle, 'twill be here,
Sig. And learn thou to be captive-It hath ceased, Within the palace, that the strife will thicken ;
(The bell ceases to toll. Then here must be my station, as becomes The traitorous signal, which was to have set The master-mover. Hark! he comes-he comes, The bloodhound mob on their patrician preyMy nephew, brave Bertuccio's messenger.- The knell hath rung, but it is not the senate's ! What tidings ? Is he marching ? hath he sped ?-- Doge, (after a pause.) All's silent, and all's lost! They here ! all's lost-yet will I make an effort. Sig.
Now, Doge, denounce me
As rebel slave of a revolted council! Enter a Signor OF THE NIGHT, with Guards, Have I not done my duty ? &C., &c.
Peace, thou thing! Sig. Doge, I arrest thee of high treason! Thou hast done a worthy deed, and earn'd the price Doge.
Me! Of blood, and they who use thee will reward thee. Thy prince, of treason ?-Who are they that dare But thou wert sent to watch, and not to prate, Cloak their own treason under such an order ? As thou said'st even now-then do thine office, Sig. (showing his order.) Behold my order from But let it be in silence, as behoves thee, the assembled Ten.
Since, though thy prisoner, I am thy prince. Doge. And where are they, and why assembled ? no Sig. I did not mean to fail in the respect Such council can be lawful, till the prince
Due to your rank : in this I shall obey you. Preside there, and that duty's mine : on thine Doge, (aside.) There now is nothing left me save I charge thee, give me way, or marshal me
to die; To the council chamber.
And yet how near success! I would have fallen, Sig.
Duke! it may not be ; And proudly, in the hour of triumph, but
Enter other SIGNORS OF THE NIGHT, with BERTUCSig.
cio FALIERO prisoner. The state, and needs must serve it faithfully;
We took him in the act My warrant is the will of those who rule it. Of issuing from the tower, where, at his order
Doge. And till that warrant has my signature As delegated from the Doge, the signal
Had thus begun to sound.
Are all the passes That thus you dare assume a lawless function? Which lead up to the palace well secured ? Sig. "Tis not my office to reply, but act
2d. Sig. They are—besides, it matters not; the I am placed here as guard upon thy person,
chiefs And not as judge to hear or to decide.
Are all in chains, and some even now on trialDoge, (aside.) I must gain time-So that the Their followers are dispersed, and many taken. storin-bell sound
Ber. F. Uncle ! All may be well yet.—Kinsman, speed-speed- Doge. It is in vain to war with Fortune; speed !
The glory hath departed from our house. Our fate is trembling in the balance, and
Ber. F. Who would hare deem'd it?-Ah! one Wo to the vanquish'd! be they prince and people,
moment sooner! Or slaves and senate
Doge. That moment would have changed the face [The great bell of St. Mark's tolls.
of ages ;
But who can make their own minds all in all,
Confusion! Let us go worthy of our sires and selves.
Lords, our orders The officer hath miss'd his path or purpose, Are to keep guard on both in separate chambers, Or met some unforseen and hideous obstacle. Until the council call ye to your trial. Anselmo, with thy company proceed
Doge. Our trial! will they keep their mockery up, Straight to the tower; the rest remain with me. Even to the last? but let them deal upon us,
[Extt a part of the Guard. As we had dealt on them, but with less pomp. Doge. Wretch ! if thou wouldst have thy vile life, 'Tis but a game of mutual homicides, implore it;
Who have cast lots for the first death, and they