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DUKE.

DUKE.

BIANCA.

BIANCA.

DUKE.

BIANCA
SCENE II.

Giraldi Fazio.
Duke and his Council.

GONSALVO.

My liege, I know him; 't is the new-sprung signior, 'Tis passing strange, a man of such lean habits, This great philosopher. I ever doubted Wealth flowing to him in a steady current,

His vaunted manufactory of gold, Winds wafting it unto him from all quarters,

Work’d by some strunge machinery. Through all his seventy toilsome years of life,

DUKE.

Theodore, And yet his treasury so spare and meagre; Signior Gonsalvo, were the voice that told us

Search thou the garden that this woman speaks of. Less tried and trusty than thine own, our faith

Captain Antonio, be 't thy charge to attach Would be a rebel to such marvellous fact.

With speed the person of this Fazio.

BIANCA (rushing forward to ANTONIO).
GONSALVO.

You 'll find him at the Marchesa Aldabella's :
Well may your Highness misdoubt me, myself
Almost misdoubting mine own positive senses.

Bring him away - no mercy — no delay
No sign was there of outward violence,

Nay, not an instant - not time for a kiss, All in a state of orderly misery,

A parting kiss. (Aside.) Now have I widow'd her,

As she has widow'd me! Now come what will, No trace of secret inroad ; yet, my liege, The mountains of his wealth were puny mole-hills,

Their curst entwining arms are riven asunder. A few stray ducats; piles indeed of parchments,

And thou, thou peremptory summoner! Mortgages, deeds, and lawsuits heaped to the roof,

Most thirsty after justice! speak Enough to serve the armies of all Tuscany

Thy name? At least for half a century with new drum-heads.

Bianca.
AURIO.

DUKE.
Jlaply, my liege, he may have gone abroad,

Thy estate wedded or single ?
And borne his riches with him.

My lord
Signior Aurio,

DUKE.
That surmise flavours not of your known wisdom.

Give instant answer to the court. His argosies encumber all our poris,

BIANCA His unsold bales rot in the crowded wharfs;

Oh! wedded, but most miserably single. The interest of a hundred usuries

DUKE. Lieth unclaim'd.—Besides, he hath not left

Woman, thou palterest with our dignity. Our city for these twenty years ;-a flight

Thy husband's name and quality ?-Why shakest thou So unprepared and wanton suits not well

And draw'st the veil along thy moody brow, Your slow and heavy-laden usurer.

As thou too wert a murderess ?-Speak, and quickly Enter ANTONIO.

BIANCA (faltering).

Giraldi Fazio.
ANTONIO.

DUKE.
My liege, a lady in the antechamber
Boasts knowledge that concerns your this day's coun-

'Tis thy husband then -
cil.

Woman, take heed, if, petulant and rash,
DUKE.

Thou wouldst abuse the righteous sword of law, Admit her.-(Enter Bianca.)— How! what know'st That brightest in the armoury of man, thou of the death

To a peevish instrument of thy light passions, Of old Bartolo ?-be he dead in sooth ?

Or furtherance of some close and secret guilt: Or of his riches !

Take heed, 't is in the heaven stamp'd roll of sins,

To bear false witness- -Oh, but 'gainst thy husband The east side of the fountain, Thy bosom's lord, flesh of thy flesh! – To set In the small garden of a lowly house,

The bloodhounds of the law upon his track! By the Franciscan convent, the green herbs

If thou speak'st true, stern justice will but blush Grow boon and freely, the manure is rich

To be so cheerd upon her guilty prey : Around their roots : dig there, and you'll be wiser. If it be false, thou givest to flagrant sin DUKE.

A heinous immortality. This deed
Who tenanted this house?

Will chronicle thee, woman, to all ages,
BIANCA.

In human guilt a portent and an era :
Giraldi Fazio.

"T is of those crimes, whose eminent fame Hell joys at D'KE.

And the celestial angels, that look on it,
What of his wealth ?

Wish their keen airy vision dim and narrow.
BIANCA.
There's one in Florence knows

Enter TheopORE.
More secrets than beseenis an honest man.

My liege, e'en where she said, an unstripp'd corpse DUKE.

Lay carelessly inearth'd : old weeds hung on it, And who is he

Like those that old Bartolo wont to wear;

BIANCA.

And under the left rib a small stiletto,

Death is thy doom — the public, daylight death. Rusted within the pale and creeping flesh.

Thy body do we give unto the wheel :

The Lord have mercy on thy sinful soul !
Enter ANTONIO with Fazio.

BIANCA.
My liege, the prisoner.

Death !-Death!- I meant not that!-Ye mean not DUKE.

that! Thou 'rt Giraldi Fazio.

What's all this waste and idle talk of murder ? Giraldi Fazio, thou stand'st here arraign'd,

He slay a man with tender hands like his? That, with presumption impious and accurst, With delicate mild soul? Why, his own blood Thou hast usurp'd God's high prerogative,

Had startled him! I've seen him pale and shuddering Making thy fellow-mortal's life and death

At the sad writhings of a trampled worm : Wait op thy moody and diseased passions ;

I've seen him brush off with a dainty hand
That with a violent and untimely steel

A bee that stung him. Oh, why wear ye thus
Hlast set abroach the blood, that should have ebb'd The garb and outward sanctity of law?
In calm and natural current: to sum all

What means that snow upon your reverend brows,
In one wild name - a name the pale air freezes at, If that ye have no subtler apprehension
And every cheek of man sinks in with horror Of some inherent harmony in the nature
Thou art a cold and midnight murderer.

Of bloody criminal and bloody crime ?
FAZIO.

'T were wise l' arraign the soft and silly lamb My liege, 1 do beseech thee, argue not,

Of slaughtering his butcher: ye might make it From the thick clogging of my clammy breath, As proper a murderer as my Fazio. Aught but a natural and instinctive dread

DUKE,
Of such a bloody and ill-sounding title.

Woman, th' irrevocable breath of justice
My liege, I do beseech thee, whate'er reptile Wavers not: he must die.
Hath cast this filthy slime of slander on me,

BIANCA.
Set him before me face to face : the fire

Die! Fazio die! Of my just anger shall burn up his heart,

Ye grey and solemn murderers by charter! Make his lip drop, and powerless shuddering Ye ermined manslayers! when the tale is rise Creep o'er his noisome and corrupted limbs,

With blood and guilt, and deep and damning, Oh, Till the coarse lie choke in his wretched throat. Ye suck it in with cold insatiate thirst : DUKE.

But to the plea of mercy ye are stones, Thou 'rt bold. — But know ye aught of old Bartolo? As deaf and hollow as the unbowelld winds. Methinks, for innocence, thou 'rt pale and tremulous- Oh, ye smooth Christians in your tones and looks, That name is to thee as a thunderclap;

But in your hearts as savage as the tawny But thou shalt have thy wish. -Woman, stand forth : And misbelieving African! ye profane, Nay, cast away thy veil. Look on her, Fazio. Who say, “God bless him! God deliver him!"

While yo are beckoning for the bloody axe, Bianca! - No, it is a horrid vision !

To smite the unoffending head! - his head !And, if I struggle, I shall wake, and find it My Fazio's head! - the head this bosom cherish'd A miscreated mockery of the brain.

With its first virgin fondness, If thou 'rt a fiend, what hellish right hast thou

DUKE. To shroud thy leprous and fire-seamed visage

Fazio, hear. In lovely lineaments, like my Bianca's ?

To-morrow's morning sun shall dawn upon thee If thou 'rt indeed Bianca, thou wilt wear

But when he setteth in his western couch, A ring I gave thee at our wedding time.

He finds thy place in this world void and vacant. In God's name do I bid thee hold it up; And, if thou dost, I 'll be a murderer,

To-morrow morning!-- Not tomorrow morning!
A slaughterer of whole hecatombs of men, The damning devils give a forced faint pause
So ye will rid me of the hideous sight.

If the bad soul but feebly catch at heaven.
DUKE.

But ye, but ye, unshriven, unreconciled,
Giraldi Fazio, hear the couri's award:

With all its ponderous mass of sins hurl down First, on thy evil-golten wealth the State

The bare and shivering spirit. -- Oh, not tomorrow!
Setieth her solemn seal of confiscation;
And for thyself -

Woman, thou dost outstep all modesty :
BIANCA (rushing forward).

But for strong circumstance that leagues with thee,
Oh, we'll be poor again!

We should contemn thee for a wild mad woman, Oh, I forgive thee! -- We'll be poor and happy! Raving her wayward and unsettled fancies. So happy, the dull day shall be too short for us. She loved thee, that proud woman, for thy riches ; Mad! mad! - ay, that it is ! - ay, that it is. But thou canst tell why I love Fazio.

Is 't to be mad to speak, to move, to gaze,

But not know how, or why, or whence, or where? And for thyself _ "rix in the code of Heaven, To see that there are faces all around me, Blood will have bloou - the slayer for the slain. Floating within a dim discolour'd baze,

FAZIO.

BIANCA

DUKE.

BIANCA

DIKE.

FAZIO.

DUKE.

ANTONIO,

BIANCA

Yet have distinction, vision, but for one ?
To speak with rapid and continuous flow,

Mine own Bianca! I shall need too much mercy
Yet know not how the unthought words start from Or ere tomorrow, to be merciless.
me? -

It was not well, Bianca, in my guilt Oh, I am mad, wildly, intensely mad.

To cut me off — thus early — thus unripe : "T was but last night the moon was at the full; It will be bitter, when the axe falls on me, And ye, and ye, the sovereign and the sage,

To think whose voice did summon it to its office.The wisdom and the reverence of all Florence, No more — no more of that: we all must die. E'en from a maniac's dim disjointed tale,

Bianca, thou wilt love me when I'm dead : Do calmly judge away the innocent life,

I wrong'd thee, but thou ’lt love me when I'm dead The holy human life, the life God gave him.

BIANCA.

What, kiss me, kiss me, Fazio!- 't is too much: Giraldi Fazio, hast thou aught to plead

And these warm lips must be cold clay to-morrow. Against the law, that with imperious hand

ANTONIO.
Grasps at thy forfeit life ?

Signior, we must part hence.
FAZIO.

BIANCA.
My liege, this soul

What! tear me from him
Rebels not, nay, repines not at thy sentence; When he has but a few short hours to give me!
Yet, oh! by all on earth, by all hereafter,

Rob me of them!- He hath lain delicately: All that hath cognizance o'er unseen deeds,

Thou wilt not envy me the wretched office Blood is a colour stranger to these hands.

Of-strewing the last pillow he shall lie on —
But there are crimes within me, deep and black, Thou wilt not-nay, there's moisture in thine eye –
That with their clamorous and tumultuous voices Thou wilt not.
Shout at me, “ Thou shouldst die, thy sins are deadly:"
Nor dare my oppressed heart return, “ 'T is false."

Lady, far as is the warrant
BIANCA.

Of my stern orders -
But I, I say, 't is false : he is not guilty:
Not guilty unto death : I say he is not.

Excellent youth! Ileaven thank thee i God gave ye hearing, but ye will not hear;

There's not another heart like thine in Florence.
God gave ye feeling, but ye will not feel;

We shall not part, we shall not part, my Fazin!
God gave ye judgment, but ye falsely judge. Oh, never, never, never - till tomorrow.
DUKE.

FAZIO (as he leads her out).
Captain Antonio, guard thy prisoner.

It was not with this cold and shaking hand If it be true, blood is not on thy soul,

I led thee virgin to the bridal altar. Yet thou object'st not to the charge of robbery ?

(Ereunt (Fazio bows. Thou dost not. Robbery, by the laws of Florence, Is sternly coded as a deadly crime:

ACT IV.- SCENE I. Therefore, I say again, Giraldi Fazio,

A Prison,
The Lord have mercy on thy sinful soul!
[They follow the Duke.

FAZIO and BIANCA.
BIANCA (seizing and detaining AURIO).
My lord ! my lord! we have two babes at home -

Let's talk of joy, Bianca: we'll deceive
They cannot speak yet; but, your name, my lord, This present and this future, whose grim fares
And they shall lisp it, ere they lisp mine own -

Stare at us with such deep and hideous blackness: Ere that poor culprit's yonder, their own father's.

We 'll fly to the past. Dost thou remember, love, Befriend us, oh, befriend us! 'Tis a title

Those gentle moonlights, when my fond guitar Heaven joys at, and the hard and savage earth

Was regular, as convent vesper hymn, Doth break its sullen nature to delight in

Beneath ihy laltice, sometimes the light dawn The destitute's sole friend. And thou

pass too!

Came stealing on our voiceless intercourse,
Why, what a common liar was thy face,
That said the milk of mercy flow'd within thee!-

Soft in its grey and filmy atmosphere?

BIANCA. Ye're all alike. — Off! off! - Ye're all alike. (Exeunt all but Fazio, the Officer, and BIANCA. Will steal upon us. — Then, oh then

Oh yes, oh yes! - There 'll be a dawn tomorrow BIANCA (creeping to Fazio). Thou wilt not spurn me, wilt not trample on me,

Oh, think not on't Wilt let me touch thee-I, whose lips have slain thee? And thou remember'st too that beauteous evening Oh, look not on me thus with that fond look

Upon the Arno; how we sail'd along, Pamper me not, for long and living grief

And laugh’d to see the stately towers of Florence To prey upon - Oh, curse me, Fazio

Waver and dance in the blue depth beneath us.
Kill me with cursing: I am thin and feeble - How carelessly thy unretiring band
A word will crush me -
- any thing but kindness.
Abandon'd its soft whiteness to my pressure !

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BIANCA.

BIANCA.

FAZIO.

BIANCA.

BIANCA

Come to the wheel! - it wrings my very heart, Oh yes!

To-morrow evening, if thou close To fancy how the seams will crack, or haply
Thy clasping hand, mine will not meet it then - The hangman will be seen in 't!-- That I should live
Thou 'll only grasp the chill and senseless earth. To be purveyor of the modes to a hangman!
FAZIO.

Enter Bianca.
Thou busy, sad remembrancer of evil !-
How exquisitely happy have we two
Sate in the dusky and discolour'd light,

They pass me by on the other side of the street; That flicker'd through our shaking lattice bars!

They spurn me from their doors; they load the air Our children at our feet, or on our laps,

With curses that are fiung on me: the Palace, Warm in their breathing slumbers, or at play

The Ducal Palace, that should aye be open With rosy laughter on their cheeks! Oh God!

To voice of the distress'd, as is God's heaven, Bianca, such a flash of thought crost o'er me,

Is ring'd around with grim and armed savages, I dare not speak it.

That with their angry weapons smite me back,

As though I came with fire in my hand, to burn Quick, my Fazio!

The royal walls: the children in the streets Quick, let me have 'l!—10-morrow thou 'lt not speak it. Break off their noisy games to hoot at me;

And the dogs from the porches howl me on. Oh, what a life must theirs be, those poor innocents!

But here's a succour.—(To Falsetto.) Oh, good sir, thy When they have grown up to a sense of sorrow

friend, Oh, what a seast will they be for rude misery!

The man thou feastedst with but yesterday, Honest men's boys and girls, whene'er they mingle,

He to whose motion thou wast a true shadow, Will spurn them with the black and branded title,

Whose hand rain'd gifts upon thee – he I mean, * The murderer's children.” Infamy will pin

Fazio, the bounteous, free, and liberal Fazio That pestilent label on their backs ; the plague-spot I swear to thee 't is wrongfully. — Oh, sir,

He's wrongfully accused, wrongfully doom'd: Will bloat and blister on them till their death-beds; And if they beg — for beggars they must be —

An eloquent honey-dropping tongue like thine, They 'll drive them from their doors with cruel jeers

How would it garnish up his innocence, Upon my riches, villanously style them

Till Justice would grow amorous, and embrace it. “The children of Lord Fazio, the philosopher."

FALSETTO.

Sweet lady, thou o'ervaluest my poor powers: Tomorrow will the cry begin, to-morrow.

Any thing in reason to win so much loveliness It must not be, and I sit idle here.

To smile on me- but this were wild and futile. Fazio, there must be in this wide, wide city

BIANCA. Piercing and penetrating eyes for truth,

In reason ?- 'Tis to save a human life Souls not too proud, 100 cold, too stern for mercy.

Is not that in the spacious realm of reason ? — I'll hunt them out, and swear them to our service.

Kind sir, there's not a prayer will mount hereafter I'll raise up something — Oh, I know not what

Ileavenward from us or our poor children's lips, Shall boldly startle the rank air of Florence

But in it thy dear name will rise embalm'd; With proclamation of thy innocence.

And prayers have power to cancel many a sin, I'll raise the dead! I'll conjure up the ghost

That clogs and flaws our coarse and corrupt nature or that old rotten thing, Bartolo; make it Cry out i' the market place, “ Thou didst not slay Methinks, good Dandolo, 't is the hour we owe him!"

Attendance at the Lady Portia's toilette.-
Farewell, farewell! If in the walls of Florence

Any commission in our way, fair lady?
Be any thing like hope or comfort, Fazio,
I'll clasp it with such strong and steadfast arms,

Oh yes! I'm ever indispensable there
I 'll drag it to thy dungeon, and make laugh

As is her looking-glass.-
This silence with strange uncouth sounds of joy.

Riotous madness!
To waste a breath (Delaining them) upon such thin.

blown bubbles !
SCENE II.

Why, thou didst cling to him but yesterday,
A Street.

As 't were a danger of thy life to part from him ;

Didst swear it was a sin in Providence
FALSETTO, DANDOLO, PHILARIO.

He was not born a prince. (To Dandolo.) And thou,
FALSETTO.

sir, thou –
Good Signior Dandolo, here's a prodigal waste Chains, sir, in May - it is a heavy wear;
Of my fair speeches to the sage philosopher. Hard and unseemly, a rude weight of iron.--
I counted on at least a two months' diet,

Faugh! cast ye off this shape and skin of men ; Besides stray boons of horses, rings, and jewels. Ye stain it, ye pollute it: be the reptiles DANDOLO.

Ye are. (To Philario.) And thou, sir - I know me Ob my Falsetto, a coat of my fashion

whose porch

FALSETTO.

DAN DOLO.

BIANCA.

PHILARIO.

ALDABELLA.

BIANCA.

BIANCA

ALDALELLA.

BIANCA.

He hired thee to troll out thy fulsome ditties : The prime of Florence wait upon thy smiles,
I know whose dainty ears were last night banqueted Like sunflowers on the golden light they love.
With the false harlotry of thy rich airs.

Thy lips have such sweet melody, 't is hung upon

Till silence is an agony. Did it plead I do beseech thee, lady, judge me not

For one condemn'd, but oh, most innocent, So harshly. In the state, Heaven knows, I'm power- | 'T would be a music th' air would fall in love with, less :

And never let it die, till it had won
I could remove yon palace walls, as soon

Its honest purpose.
As alter his sad doom. But if to visit him,
To tend him with a soft officious zeal,

What a wanton waste
Waft the mild magic of mine art around him,

Of idle praise is here!
Making the chill and lazy dungeon air
More smooth, more gentle to the trammell'd breath-

Nay think, oh think,
ing:-

What 't is to give again a forseit lise : All that I can I will, to make his misery

Ay, such a life as Fazio's ! - Frown not on me: Slide from him light and airily.

Thou think'st that he's a murderer-'t is all false,

A trick of Fortune, fancifully cruel,
Wilt thou ?

To cheat the world of such a life as Fazio's.
Why then there's hope the Devil hath noi all Florence.
Go-go!- I cannot point thee out the way:

Frivolous and weak: I could not if I would.
Mine eyes are cloudy; it is the first rain
Hath dew'd them, since — since when I cannot tell Nay, but I'll lure thee with so rich a boon-
thee -

Hear - hear, and thou art won. If thou dost save Go-go! – (Eril.) - One effort more, and if I fail

him, But by the inbred and instinctive tenderness

It is but just he should be saved for thee.
That mingles with the life of womanhood,
I cannot fail: and then, thou grim to-morrow,

I give him thee Bianca - I his wife :
I'll meet thee with a bold and unblench'd front.

1 pardon all that has been, all that may be —
Oh I will be thy handmaid ; be so patient -
Calmly, contentedly, and sadly patient-

And if ye see a pale or envious motion
SCENE III.

Upon my cheek, a quivering on my lips,

Like to complaint - then strike him dead before me Palace of Aldabella.

Thou shalt enjoy all — all that I enjoy’d:

His love, his life, his sense, his soul be thine ; Fazio in prison! Fazio doom'd 10 die!

And I will bless thee, in my misery bless thee. I was too hasty ; should have fled, and bashfully

ALDABELLA. Beckon'd him after; lured him, not seized on him. What mist is on thy wild and wandering eyes ? Proud Aldabella a poor robber's paramour !

Know'st thou to whom and where thou play'st the Oh it sounds dismal! Florence must not hear it :

ra ver ? And sooth his time is brief to descant on it.

I, Aldabella, whom the amorous homage
(To BIANCA, who enters.)

Of rival lords and princes stirs no more
And who art thou thus usherless and unbidden "Than the light passing of the common air —
Scarest my privacy?

I, Aldabella, when my voice might make
BIANCA (aside).

Thrones render up their stateliest to my service-
I must not speak yet;

Stoop to the sordid sweepings of a prison ? For if I do, a curse will clog my utterance.

IALDABELLA. Nay, stand not with thy pale lips quivering nothings— Proud-lipp'd woman, earth's most gorgeous sove Speak out, and freely.

reigns BIANCA.

Were worthless of my Fazio! Foolish woman, Lady, there is one

Thou ca at'st a jewel off! The proudest lord Fie, fie upon this choking in my throat

That ever revelld in thy unchaste arms, One thou didst love, Giraldi Fazio :

Was a swarth galley-slave to Fazio.
One who loved thee, Giraldi Fazio -

Ah me! me! me! e'en I his lawful wife
He's doom'd to die, to die lo morrow morning! Know 't not more truly, certainly than thou.-
And lo 'l is eve already!-

Hadst thou loved him, I had pardon'd, pitied thee :
ALDABELLA.

We two had sate, all coldly, palely sad ;
He is doom'd ?

Dropping, like stalues on a fountain-side,
Why then the man must die. -

A pure, a silent, and eternal dew.
BIANCA.

Hadst thou outwept me, I had loved thee for't

Nay, gentle lady, And that were easy, for I'm stony here. (Pulling her Thou ’rt high-horn, rich, and beautiful: the princes,

hand to her eyes.)

ALDABELLA.

BIANCA.

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