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Nay, not you, but wrath,

Your wrath it is that says so.


No: for proof

With iron tongues innumerable echoing me

Cries out upon the house-tops, fills and thrills

Streets, bridges, squares, with shame from roof to roof
Reverberated resounding as to toll

The deep death-knell of honour. None there is,
Not one that in this wrongdoing bears not part,
Not one but we in Venice, we whose hands
Are pledged to quench in blood this funeral fire
That else will burn up justice, courage, faith,

And leave but shame alive and vileness free

And cowardice crowned as conqueror. Here she lies,
Our mother, mightiest late of all things throned
And hailed of earth as heavenly, naked, soiled,
Mocked, scourged, and spat on: not her first of sons
And not her last escapes, evades, eschews
Communion in one sacrament of shame,
Partakes not, pledges not the wine of wrong,
The bread of outrage: first and last are one :
Bound of base hands down on her pyre alive,
Fast bound with iron and with infamy,

Our commonweal groans, knowing herself a thing

For slaves and kings to scoff at. Shall this be
With thy goodwill for ever? Not with mine
Shall it; nay, not though scarce a tithe were left
When justice hath fulfilled her fiery doom
Again to build up Venice.


Who shall build

On graves and ashes, out of fire and blood,
Or citadel or temple? Where on earth,

For man what stronghold, or what shrine for God,
Rose ever so from ruin?


Rome-if Rome

Lie not-was built on innocent blood: and here

No fratricidal auspice shall renew

Life, but a sacrificial sign again

Inaugurate Venice for her sons to praise

And all the world to worship. These are not
Brethren, nor men nor sons of men are these,
But worms that creep and couple, soil and sting,
Whose blood though foul shall purge pollution hence
And leave the shore clean as the sea. Would God

Their hour to-night could ere its natural time
Ring from St. Mark's, albeit the bell that struck

Rang me to rest for ever! I shall sleep

Thereafter, sound as triumph or as death
That strikes, and seals up triumph.


Sir, I know,

If by strange hap my sire could err, with him
For me to err were better, even to death,
Defeat, dispraise, and all that darkens death,
Than swerving from his side to shine, and live
Acclaimed of all men's praises. Be your will
Done for as God's your will shall be for me

A stronghold and a safeguard though I die. [Exeunt.


SCENE I-A cabinet in the palace of Lioni.



Speak now, then here at least is none but I.



Sir, you dream not what you bid me do.


By good St. Mark, not I: but this should be Some honest thing, or hardly wouldst thou dare So thrust and press upon me.

I doubt it is not.


No, my lord.


Get thee hence, then out:

Is there no room for all dishonest works

In all the range of Venice, that a knave
Must make me closet counsellor with him,
Here emptying forth his knavery? By this light,
I think thou art here belated, mad with wine
Or drunk with brawling: yet again I think
Thou darest not thus abuse me.


Sir, I dare

Nor hold my peace nor hardly speak; yet this
I cannot but beseech you to believe,

That if between two doubts I hang distraught
The stronger cause that plucks me by the heart
Is care and duty toward you, born of love;
The weaker, half disrooted now, constrains

My conscience yet for shame's sake; which nathless

I needs must here cast off me. Sir, you know
How yet no long time since it is that we
Communed of matters held for me too high,
Of unendurable evil endured, of wrong
Whence all men's hearts were wasted as with fire,
Of hope that helped not, patience grey with pain,
Long-suffering sick to death, and violence roused
To range among the violent: dangerous dreams
Whereof your wisdom, though with temperate words,
Rebuking them, chastised me: whence, my lord,
I come to shew you now what seed hath sprung
To what swift height and amplitude of doom
Far overshadowing Venice. You desired

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