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O'er boiling skellets, crucibles and stills,

With tatter'd remnants of a money-bag, Drugs and clixirs.

Through cobwebs and thick dust I spied his face,

Like some dry wither-boned anatomy,
Ay, chide on, my love ;

Through a huge chest-lid, jealously and scantily
The nightingale's complaining is more sweet, Uplifted, peering upon coin and jewels,
Than half the dull unvarying birds that pipe Ingots and wedges, and broad bars of gold,
Perpetual amorous joy. - Tell me, Bianca,

Upon whose lustre the wan light shone muddily, How long is 't since we wedded.

As though the New World had outrun the Spaniard, BIANCA.

And emptied all its mines in that coarse hovel.

Wouldst thou know His ferret eyes gloated as wanton o'er them, Thy right and title to thy weariness?

As a gross Satyr on a sleeping Nymph; Beyond two years.

And then, as he heard something like a sound, FAZIO.

He clapp'd the lid to, and blew out the lantern. Days, days, Bianca! Love But I, Bianca, hurried to thy arms, Hath in its calendar no tedious time,

And thank'd my God that I had braver riches. So long as what cold lifeless souls call years. Oh, with my books, my sage philosophy,

Oh then, let that black surnace burst: dash down My infants, and their mother, time slides on

Those ugly and misshapen jars and vials. So smoothly, as 't were fallin asleep, forgetting

Nay, nay, most sage philosopher, to-night, Its heaven-ordained motion. We are poor ;

At least to-night, be only thy Bianca's. But in the wealth of love, in that, Bianca,

[She dings to him In that we are eastern sultans. I have thought

FAZIO (looking fondly at her.)
If that my wondrous alchymy should win
That precious liquor, whose transmuting dew

Why, e'en the Prince of Bards was false and slan

derous, Makes the black iron start forth brilliant gold,

Who girt Jove's bride in that voluptuous zone, Were it not wise to cast it back again

Ere she could win her weary lord to love;
Into its native darkness?

While my earth-born Bianca bears by nature
Out upon it!

An ever-blooming cæstus of delight!
Oh, leave it there, my Fazio!— Leave it there!
I hate it! — "Tis my rival, 'tis thy mistress. —

So courtly and so fancisul, my Fazio !
Ay, this it is that makes thee strange and restless,

Which of our dukes hath lent thee his cast poesies? A truant to thine own Bianca's arms,

Why, such a musical and learned phrase This wondrous secret.

Had soften'd the marchesa, Aldabella,

That high signora, that once pamper'd thee
Dost thou know, Bianca,

Almost to madness with her rosy smiles ;
Our neighbour, old Bartolo?

And then my lady queen put on her winter,

And froze thee till thou wert a very icicle,
O yes, yes

Had not the lowly and despised Bianca

Shone on it with the summer of her pity.
That yellow wretch, that looks as he were stain'd
With watching his own gold; every one knows him,
Enough to loathe him. Not a friend hath he, Nay, taunt not her, Bianca, taunt not her!
Nor kindred nor familiar; not a slave,

Thy Fazio loved her once. Who, who would blame Not a lean serving wench: nothing e'er enter'd Heaven's moon, because a maniac hath adored it, But his spare self within his jealous doors,

And died in his dotage? E'en a saint might wear Except a wand'ring rat; and that, they say,

Proud Aldabella's scorn, nor look less heavenly. Was famine-struck, and died there. - What of him? Oh, it dropt balm upon the wounds it gave;

The soul was pleased to be so sweetly wrongd, Yet he, Bianca, he is of our rich ones.

And misery grew rapturous. Aldabella! There's not a galliot on the sea, but bears

The gracious! the melodious! Oh, the words A venture of Bartolo's; not an acre,

Laugh'd on her lips; the motion of her smiles Nay, not a villa of our proudest princes,

Shower'd beauty, as the air-caressed spray But he hath cramp'd it with a mortgage; he,

The dew's of morning; and her stately steps He only stocks our prisons with his debtors.

Were light as though a winged angel trod I saw him creeping home last night; he shudder'd

Over earth's flowers, and fear'd to brush away As he unlock'd his door, and look'd around,

Their delicate hues; ay, e'en her very robes As if he thought that every breath of wind

Were animate and breathing, as they felt Were some keen thief; and when he lock'd him in, The presence of her loveliness, spread around I heard the grating key turn twenty times,

Their thin and gauzy clouds, ministering freely To try if all were safe. I look'd again

Officious duty on the shrine where Nature From our high window by mere chance, and saw

Hath lavish'd all her skill. The motion of his scanty moping lantern;

BIANCA. And, where his wind-rent lattice was ill stuff'd

A proud loose wanton!









Got they from old Bartolo. Oh, I bleed!
She wanton!-- Aldabella loose! — Then, then And my old heart beats minutes like a clock.
Are the pure lilies black as soot within,
The stainless virgin snow is hot and rancid,

A surgeon, friend
And chastity — ay, it may be in heaven,
But all beneath the moon is wild and haggard.

Ay, one of your kind butchers,
If she be spotted, oh, unholiness
Hath never been so delicately lodged

Who cut and slash your flesh for their own pastime,

And then, God bless the mark! they must have Since that bad devil walkd fair Paradise.


Gold, gold, or nothing! Silver is grown coarse, Already silent? Hath your idol quaff'd Enough of your soft incense ? Fuzio! Fazio!

And rings unhandsomely. Have I 'scaped robbing, But that her gaudy bark would aye disdain

Only to give ?-Oh there! there! there! Cold, cold The quiet stream whereon we glide so smooth,

Cold as December. I should be fearful of ye.


Nay, then, a confessor!
Nay, unjust!

Ungenerous Bianca! who foregoes,

A confessor! one of your black smooth talkers, For the gay revel a golden harp,

That drone the name of God incessantly, Its ecstasies and rich enchanting falls,

Like the drear burthen of a doletul ballad! His oun domestic lute's familiar pleasing ?

That sing to one of bounteous codicils But thou, thou vain and wanton in thy power,

To the Franciscans or some hospital! Thou know'st canst make e’en jealousy look lovely, Oh! there's a shooting ! - Oozing here! — Ah me! And all thy punishment for that bad passion My ducats and my ingots scarcely cold Be this — [Kisses her] — Good night!- I will but From the hot Indies ! – Oh! and I forgot snatch a look

To seal those jewels from the Milan Duke! How the great crucible doth its slow work,

Oh! misery, misery!-- Just this very day, And be with thee; unless thou fanciest, sweet,

And that mad spendthrift Angelo hath not sign'd That Aldabella lurks behind the furnace;

The mortgage on those meadows by the Arno. And then, heaven knows how long I may be truant.

Oh! misery, misery!- Yet I 'scaped them bravely, [Exit Bianca. And brought my ducats off!

[Dies FAZIO (solus.) Oh, what a star of the first magnitude

Why e'en lie there, as foul a mass of earth Were poor young Fazio, if his skill should work As ever loaded it. "T were sin to charity The wondrous secret your deep-closeted sages To wring one drop of brine upon thy corpse. Grow grey in dreaming of! Why all our Florence In sooth, Death 's not nice-stomach'd, to be crammid Would be too narrow for his branching glories; With such unsavoury offal. What a god It would o'erleap the Alps, and all the north 'Mong men might this dead wither'd thing have been, Troop here to see the great philosopher.

That now must rot beneath the earth, as once He would be wealthy too

1 - wealthy in fame; He rotted on it! Why his wealth had won And that's more golden than the richest gold. In better hands an atmosphere around him,

[A groan without. Musical ever with the voice of blessing, Holy St. Francis! what a groan was there! Nations around his tomb, like marble mourners, Voice without.

Vied for their pedestals. — In better hands? Within there !-Oh! within there, neighbour!— Death, Methinks these fingers are not coarse nor clumsy. Murder, and merciless robbery!

Philosophy, Philosophy! thou 'rt lame
FAZIO opens the Door.

And tortoise-paced to my fleet desires ?
What! Bartolo! I scent a shorter path to fame and riches.

The Hesperian trees nod their rich clusters at me,
Thank ye, my friend! Ha! ha! ha! my old limbs! Tickling my timorous and withdrawing grasp; —
I did not think them half so tough and sinewy. I would, yet dare not :-that's a coward's reckoning
St. Dominic! but their pins prick'd close and keen. Half of the sin lies in “I would." To-morrow,
Six of 'em, strong and sturdy, with their daggers, If that it find me poor, will write me fool,
Tickling the old man to let loose his ducats. And myself be a mock unto myself.

Ay, and the body murder'd in my house ! Who, neighbour, who?

Your carrion breeds most strange and loathsome in. BARTOLO.

sects Robbers, black crape-faced robbers, Suspicion 's of the quickest and the keenest Your only blood-suckers, that drain your veins, So, neighbour, by your leave, your keys! In sooth, And yet their meagre bodies aye grow sparer. Thou hadst no desperate love for holy church; They knew that I had moneys from the Duke. Long-knolled bell were no sweet music to thee. But I o'erreach'd them, neighbour: not a ducat, A “God be with thee" shall be all thy mass; Nay, not a doit, to cross themselves withal,

Thou never lovedst those dry and droning priests,


Thou it rot most cool and quiet in my garden; And socketless pale eyes look glaring on me. Your gay and gilded vault would be too costly. But I have past them: and methinks this weight [Exit with the body of Bartolo. Might strain more sturdy sinews than mine own.

Howbeit, thank God, 't is safe! Thank God! - for


That a poor honest man 's grown a rich villain. SCENE II.

A Street.


Fazio's House. Enter Fazio with his sack, which he opens and surters I thank ye, bounteous thieves! most liberal thieves! Your daggers are my worship. Have ye leap'd The broad and sharp-staked trenches of the law, Mock'd at the deep damnation thal attaints 'The souls of murderers, for my hands unbloodied, As delicately, purely white as ever, To pluck the golden fruitage? Oh, I thank ye, Will chronicle ye, my good friends and true.

Enter Bianca. (Fazio conceals the treasure.)


Enter Fazio, with a dark Lantern. 1, wont to rove like a tame household dog, Caress'd by every hand, and fearing none, Now prowl e'en like a grey and treasonous wolf. 'T is a bad deed to rob, and I'll have none on't: 'Tis a bad deed to rob — and whom? the dead! Ay, of their winding-sheets and coffin nails. "T is but a quit-rent for the land I sold him, Almost two yards to house him and his worms: Somewhat usurious in the main, but that Is honest thrift to your keen usurer. Had he a kinsman, nay a friend, 't were devilish. But now whom rob I? why the state - In sooth Marvellous little owe I this same state, That I should be so dainty of its welfare. Methinks our Duke hath pomp enough, our Senate Sit in their scarlet robes and ermine tippets, And live in proud and pillar'd palaces, Where their Greek wines flow plentiful — Besides, To scatter it abroad amid so many, It were to cut the sun out into spangles, And mar its brilliance by dispersing it. Away! away! his burying is my Rubicon! Cesar or nothing! Now, ye close-lock'd treasures, Put on your gaudiest hues, outshine yourselves ! With a deliverer's, not a tyrant's hand Invade I thus your dull and peaceful slumbers And give ye light and liberty. Ye shall not Moulder and rust in pale and pitiful darkness, But front the sun with light bright as his own.

Nay, Fazio, nay: this is too much : nay, Fazio,
I'll not be humoured like a froward child,
Trick'd into sleep with pretty tuneful iales.

We feast the Duke tomorrow ; shall it be
In the Adorni or Vitelli palace ?
They 're both on sale, and each is fair and lofty.

Why, Fazio, art thou frantic? Nay, look not
So strangely, so unmeaningly. I had rather
That thou wouldst weep, than look so haggard jorful.

PAZIO. Ay, and a glorious banquet it shall be: Gay servants in as proud caparisons, As though they served immortal gods with nectar. Ay, ay, Bianca! there shall be a princess; She shall be lady of the feast. Let's see Your gold and crimson for your fair-hair'd beauties :It shall be gold and crimson. Dost thou know The princess that I mean? Dost thou, Bianca !


Nay, if thou still wilt flout me, I 'll not weep:
Thou shall not have the pitiful bad pleasure
Of wringing me to misery. I'll be cold
And patient as a statue of my wrongs.


The Streel near Fazio's Door.

Re-enter Fazio with a sack : he rests it.
My steps were ever to this door, as though
They trod on beds of perfume and of down.
The winged birds were not by half so light,
When through the lazy twilight air they wheel
Home to their brooding mates. But now, methinks,
The heavy earth doth cling around my feet.
I move as every separate limb were gyved
With its particular weight of manacle.
The moonlight that was wont to seem so soft,
So balmy to the slow respired breath,
Icily, shiveringly cold falls on me.
The marble pillars, that soared stately up,
As though to prop the azure vault of heaven,
Hang o'er me with a dull and dizzy weight.
The stones whereon I tread do grimly speak,
Forbidding echoes, ay with human voices.
Unbodied arms pluck at me as I pass,

I have just thought, Bianca, these black stills
An ugly and ill-fitting furniture :
We'll iry an they are brille. (Dashes them in pieces

I'll have gilding,
Nothing but gilding, nothing but what looks glittering.
I'm sick of black and dingy darkness. Here (la

covering the sack.)
Look here, Bianca, here's a light! Take care.
Thine eyesight is too weak for such a blaze.
It is not daylight; nay, it is not morn-
And every one is worth a thousand floring.
Who shall be princess of the feast to-morrow!

(She bursts into tears. Within, within, I'll tell thee all within. (Eseunt






Who would not hymn so rare and rich a wedding ? ACT II. - SCENE I.

Who would not serve within the gorgeous palace,

Glorified by such strange and admired inmates? A Hall in the Palace of Fazio.

FAZIO (aside.)
FALSETTO, DANDOLO, PHILARIO, and a Gentleman. Now the poor honest Fazio had disdain'd

Such scurvy fellowship; howbeit, Lord Fazio

Must lacquey his new state with these base jackals. Serve

Lord Fazio ?

(To him.)

Fair sir, you 'll honour me with your company. Ay, sir, he honours me

(To Dandolo.) With his commands.

May I make bold, sir, with your state and title? FALSETTO.

'Tis a brave gentleman! Tell him Signior Falsetto, and Philario,

Oh, my lord, by the falling of your robe,

Your cloth of gold one whole hair's-breadth too low, The most renowned Improvisatore, And Signior Dandolo, the court fashionist,

"Tis manifest you know not Signior Dandolo. Present their duty to him. GENTLEMAN.

A pitiable lack of knowledge, sir !
Ay, good sirs.
[Aside.) My master hath a Midas touch; these fellows My lord, thou hast before thee in thy presence
Will try if he hath ears like that great king. [Erit. The mirror of the court, the very calendar
Enler Fazio, splendidly dressed.

That rules the swift revolving round of fashion ;
Doth tell what hues do suit what height o' the sun;

When your spring pinks should banish from the court Most noble lord, most wonderful philosopher !

Your sober winter browns; when July heat We come to thank thee, sir, that thou dost honour

Doth authorize the gay and flaunting yellows; Our Florence with the sunlight of your fame.

The court thermometer, that doth command
Thou that hast ravish'd nature of a secret
That maketh thee her very paragon :

Your three-piled velvet abdicate its state

For the airy satins. Oh, my lord, you are too late, She can but create gold, and so canst thou:

At least three days, with your Venetian tissue.
But she doth bury it in mire and mirk,
Within the unsunn'd bowels of the earth :
But thou dost set it on the face of the world,

I sorrow, sir, to merit your rebuke
Making it shame its old and sullen darkness.

On point so weighty.
Fair sir, this cataract of courtesy

Ay, signior, I'm paramount

In all affairs of boot, and spur, and hose;
O'erwhelms my weak and unhabituate ears.
If I may venture such uncivil ignorance,

In matters of the robe and cap supreme;
Your quality ?

In ruff disputes, my lord, there's no appeal

From my irrefragibility.

I, my good lord, am one

Sweet sir,
Have such keen eyesight for my neighbours' virtues,
And such a doting love for excellence,

I fear me, such despotic rule and sway

Over the persons of our citizens
That when I see a wise man, or a noble,

Must be of danger to our state of Florence.
Or wealthy, as I ever hold it pity
Man should be blind to his own merits, words

Slide from my lips; and I do mirror him

Good sooth, my lord, I am a very tyrant.
In the clear glass of my poor eloquence.

Why, if a senator should presume to wear

A cloak of fur in June, I should indict him
In coarse and honest phraseology,

Guilty of leze-majesté against my kingship: A flatterer.

They call me Dandolo, the King of Fashions --

The whole empire of dress is my dominion.
Flatterer! Nay, the word 's grown gross.

Why, if our Duke should wear an ill-grain'd colour An apt discourser upon things of honour,

Against my positive enactment, though Professor of art Panegyrical.

His state might shield him from the palpable shame T were ill were I a hawk to see such bravery,

Of a rebuke, yet, my good lord, opinion,
And not a thrush to sing of it. Wealth, sir,

Public opinion, would hold Signior Dandolo
Wealth is the robe and outward garb of man; Merciful in his silence.
The setting to the rarer jewelry,
The soul's unseen and inner qualities.

A Lycurgus !
And then, my lord, philosophy! 't is that,
The stamp and impress of our divine nature, Good, my lord ! dignity must be upheld
By which we know that we are Gods, and are so. On the strong pillars of severity.
But wealth and wisdom in one spacious breast ! Your cap, my lord, a little to the north-east,






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And your sword - thus, my lord - pointed out this Oh, my lord, 'l is the curse and brand of poesy, way,

[Adjusting him. That it must trim its fetterless free plumes In an equilateral triangle. Nay,

To the gross fancies of the humoursome age; Nay, on my credit, my good lord, this hose

That it must stoop from its bold heights to court Is a fair woof. The ladies, sir, the ladies

Liquorish opinion, whose aye-wavering breath (For I foresee you 'll be a ruling planet),

Is to it as the precious air of life. Must not be taught any heretical fancies,

Oh, in a capering, chambering, wanton land, Fantastical infringements of my codes —

The lozel's song alone gains audience, Your lordship must give place to Signior Dandolo Fine loving ditties, sweet to sickliness; About their persons.

The languishing and luscious touch alone,

Of all the full harp's ecstasies, can detain
Gentle sir, the ladies

The pall’d and pamper'd ear of Italy.
Must be too deeply, irresistibly yours.

But, my lord, we have deeper mysteries

For the initiate Hark! - it bursts! - it flows. No, signior, no; I'm not one of the gallants That pine for a fair lip, or eye, or cheek,

Or that poetical treasure, a true heart.

Rich and royal Italy!
But, my lord, a fair-order'd head-dress makes me
As love-sick as a dove at mating-lime:

Dominion's lofty bride!

Earth deem'd no loss of pride A tasteful slipper is my soul's delight.

To be enslaved by thee. Oh, I adore a robe that drops and floats

From broad Euphrates' bank, As it were lighter than the air around it;

When the sun look'd through the gloom I dote upon a stomacher to distraction, When the gay jewels, gracefully disposed,

Thy eagle's golden plume Make it a zone of stars; and then a fan,

His orient splendour drank;

And when at ere he set The elegant motion of a fan, is murder,

Far in the chamber'd west,
Positive murder to my poor weak senses.

That bird of brilliance yet
FAZIO (turning to PhilARIO.)
But here's a third : the Improvisatore,

Bathed in his gorgeous rest.
Gentle Philario, lurks, methinks, behind.

Sad and sunken Italy!

The plunderer's common prey ! Most noble lord! it were his loftiest boast

When saw the eye of day To wed your honours to his harp. To hymn

So very a slave as thee? The finder of the philosophic stone,

Long, long a bloody stage The sovereign prince of alchymists ; 't would make

For petty kinglings tame, The cold verse-mechanist, the nice balancer

Their miserable game Of curious words and fair compacted phrases,

of puny war to wage. Burst to a liquid and melodious flow,

Or from the northern star Rapturous and ravishing but in praise of thee!

Come haughty despots down, But I, my lord, that have the fluent vein,

With iron hand to share
The rapid rush

Thy bruised and broken crown.
Fie, sir! O fie! 't is fulsome.

Fair and fervid Italy!
Sir, there's a soil fit for that rank weed flattery

Lady of each gentler art, To trail its poisonous and obscure clusters:

Yet couldst thou lead the heart A poet's soul should bear a richer fruitage

In mild captivity. The aconite grew not in Eden. Thou,

Warm Raphael's Virgin sprung That thou, with lips tipt with the fire of heaven,

To worship and to love, Th' excursive eye, that in its earth-wide range

The enamour'd air above Drinks in the grandeur and the loveliness

Rich clouds of music hung, That breathes along this high-wrought world of man; Thy poets bold and free Thou hast within thee apprehensions strong

Did noble wrong to time, Of all that is pure and passionless and heavenly – In their high rhymed majesty That thou, a vapid and a mawkish parasite,

Ravishing thy clime. Shouldst pipe to that witch Fortune's favourites! "Tis coarsese—'t is sickly—'t is as though the eagle

Loose and languid Italy! Should spread his sail-broad wings to flap a dunghill;

Where now the magic pow'r As though a pale and withering pestilence

That in thy doleful hour Should ride the golden chariot of the sun;

Made a queen of thee? As one should use the language of the gods

The pencil cold and dead, To chatter loose and ribald brothelry.

Whose lightest touch was life ;

The old immortal strife My lord, I thank thee for that noble chiding

Of thy high poets fled.


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