Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

Her sovereign state and perfect kingdom, where
May man take thought and find her? Pity-nay,
But if our hearts should bleed but one thin tear
For each wrong known and each we know not of,
A day would drain them dry of blood. But what
Hath all our will and all our impotence,
Though this be strong as that is all too sure,

To do with him we spake of—be it for hurt

Or healing? Didst thou call on God to change

[ocr errors]

For him the face and fashion of the law

Whereby the world steers toward some end, and holds Some heart up yet of comfort?

BELTRAMO.

Surely, no.

I did but think what good might come of ill
If this great wrong should smite a heart as great
With sense of other and older wrongs than this
Done toward no viler nor more abject hearts
Nor heaped on heads more worthy shame and scorn
Than age or place, fame of high deeds, desert,
Or pride, hath made Faliero's.

LIONI.

By this light,

I think the heat it sheds hath even as wine

Dazzled thy brain to darkness. How should this
Do thee or any man good, that thy lord,
My lord and thine, an old man full of days
And full of honours, being than all of these

Himself more honourable, should take by chance

A buffet from a fool's hand on his cheek,

Or spittle from a fool's mouth on his beard,
And hardly bear to bear it? Who shall reap
What harvest hence?

BELTRAMO.

Nor you, sir, know, nor I;

But haply-so priests lie not-God.

LIONI.

May he

Bind up thy brain with comfort ere it sweat
Forth of thy scalp with fever! Mark me, friend,
Thou dost thyself, being honest, no small wrong
To let such worms for sloth's sake feed on it.

I love thee, knowing thee valiant,-yea, by Christ,
I lie not, saying I love thee-and therein.

If haply I deserve again of thee

Love, let me rather bid thee than beseech

Pluck all such thoughts up by the root, and take
Good counsel rather than intemperate care
Of what beseems not nor besteads thee. So
God give thee comfort and good day. Farewell.

[Exeunt severally.

E

ACT III.

SCENE I.-An apartment in the ducal palace.

FALIERO and BERTUCCIO.

FALIERO.

Did not I charge thee think no more such thoughts
Or seal them up in silence? Wouldst thou make
Honour, that here hath station if on earth,
Dishonourable? for so to deem or doubt
Of men set highest in Venice or the world
Were no less insolent madness than to make
Thy mother's couch a harlot's. Hast thou seen

More days than I, that what I think to see

Thou, thou shouldst hold for questionable? I know
That God put nought of traitor nor of fool
In the essence of thy spirit: else pardon me,
My brother! I might hold this child of thine
Less than should be thy children.

BERTUCCIO.

That, my lord,

I would not be-God spare me that; I think
That unrebuked your brother's son may say
Nor foe nor friend hath yet so found him.

FALIERO.

No;

I have known thee honourable all thy brief life through

As they that founded us our house, and sure

As mine own sword here to my hand is: hence

It is that harshlier I rebuke thee not,
Misprizing thus thy lordliest elders. Well-
Meseems the message tarries that should bring
Their sovereign sentence to us: the cause, I thought
Should need nor bear a long debate: but just
It is that justice should not mix with rage
Her purity of patience: let them weigh

My worth against my wrong ere judgment speak,
And both against the wrongdoer: I were found
Even all too much a soldier, and my state
For me no fitter than for thee, should wrath
Distract my trust and reverence toward the law
And toward their hands that wield it as indeed
It doth not-nay, it could not though I would
And though it could I would not give it leave

Enter an Officer.

OFFICER.

Health from the senate to the Doge I bring,

And this their sentence.

FALIERO.

Give me this in brief.

-Ay-thou, Bertuccio.

BERTUCCIO.

Bid this man begone.

FALIERO.

Why? Hast thou read already?

BERTUCCIO.

Sir, by heaven

I pray you bid him go.

FALIERO.

Ay? Leave us, friend.

[Exit Officer.

Now, man, what is it ?—I would not call thee boy,

Fluttering and faltering with so changed a cheek
Above thy task—but read.

[blocks in formation]
« IndietroContinua »