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The act
There, my lord, there is a fair drooping robe -
Would that I were a breath of wind to float it!

Of the great Duke of Florence and his Senate,
Entitled against turtle doves in poesy.

Henceforth that useful bird is interdict,
Gentlemen, by your leave I would salute her:

As the mild emblem of true constancy. You'll meet me anon in the Piazza.

[Exeunt all but Fazio. There 's a new word found ; 't is pure Tuscan too; Now, lofty woman, we are equal now,

Fazio's to fill the blank up, if it chime; And I will front thee in thy pich of pride.

If not, Heaven help the rhymester.

FAZIO (apart.) Enter ALDABELLA. She speaks, after a salutation on with what an airy and a sparkling grace each side.

The language glances from her silken lips! Oh, thou and I, Sir, when we met of old,

Her once loved voice how exquisite it sounds,
Were not so distant, nor so chill. My lord

E'en like a gentle music heard in childhood!
I had forgot, my lord. You dawning signiors
Are jealous of your state; you great philosophers

Why yes, my loril, in these degenerate days
Walk not on earth; and we poor grovelling beings,

Constancy is so rare a virtue, angels If we would win your eminent regards,

Come down to guze on 't: it makes the world proud Must meet ye i' the air. Oh, it sits well

Who would be one o' the many? Why, our Florence This scorn, it looks so grave and reverend.

Will blaze with the miracle. "T' is true, 't is true,

The odour of the rose grows faint and sickly, Is scorn in Lady Aldabella's creed

And joys are finest by comparison. So monstrous and heretical?

But what is that to the majestic pride

Of being the sole true phænix ?

Treason again, a most irreverent laugh,

Gentle lady, A traitorous jest before so learu'd a sage:

Thou speak'st as if that smooth word constancy But I may joy in thy good fortune. Fazio.

Were harsh and brassy sounding in thy ears.
In sooth, good fortune, if 't is worth thy joy,
The haughty Lady Aldabella's joy.

No, no, signior; your good old-langled virtues

Have gloss enough for me, had it been my lot Nay, an thou hadst not dash'd so careless ofr

To be a miser's treasure: if his eyes My bounteous offering, I had said

Ne'er open'd but on me, I ne'er had wep

At such a pleasant faithful avarice.
What, lady?

Lady, there was a time when I did dreani
Oh nonghi-mere sound-mere air-Thou'rt married, Of playing the miser to another treasure,
Fazio :

One not less precious than thy stately self. And is thy bride a jewel of the first water?

ALDABELLA. I know thou wilt say, ay; 't is an old tale,

Oh yes, my lord, oh yes; the tale did run | Thy fond lip-revel on a lady's beauties :

That thou and I did love: so ran the tale. Methinks I've heard thee descant upon loveliness, That thou and I should have been wed – the tale

Till the full ears were drunken with sweet sounds. Ran so, my lord. — Oh memory, memory, memory! | But never let me see her, Fazio; never.

It is a bitter pleasure, but 't is pleasure.








And thou, thou snowy and unsociable virtue, A pleasure, lady! - why then cast me off

May'st lose no less a votaress from thy nunnery Like an indifferent weed ? — with icy scorn

Than the most beautiful proud Aldabella. Why choke the blossom that but woo'd thy sunshine ? Had I been honest, 't were indeed to fall; ALDABELLA.

But now 't is but a step down the declivity. Ah, what an easy robe is scorn to wear!

Bianca! but Bianca! - bear me up, 'Tis but to wrinkle up the level brow,

Bear me up, in the trammels of thy fondness To arch the pliant eyelash, and freeze up

Bind thou my slippery soul. Wrong thee, Bianca ? The passionless and placid orb within

Nay, nay, that's deep indeed; fathomless deep Castelli! oh Castelli!

In the black pit of infamy and sin:

kam not so weary yet of the upper air.
Who was he, lady?

Wrong thee, Bianca? No, not for the earth;

Not for earth's brightest, not for Aldabella.
One, my good lord, I loved most fondly, fatally.







Then thou didst love? love, Aldabella, truly,
Fervently, fondly ? — But what's that to me?

Oh yes, my lord, he was a noble gentleman;

Palace of Fazio.
Thou know'st him by his title, Condé d'Orsoa;

Fazio and BIANCA.
My nearest kinsman, my good uncle :-1,
Knowing our passionate and fanciful nature,

To his sage counsels fetter'd my wild will.

Dost thou love me, Bianca ?
Proud was he of me, deem'd me a fit mate
For highest princes; and his honest flatteries

There's a question So pamper'd me, the fatal duteousness

For a philosopher! - Why, I've answerd it
grew upon me — - Fazio, dost thou think

For two long years; and, oh, for many more,
My colour wither'd since we parted? Gleam It will not stick upon my lips to answer thee.
Mine eyes as they were wont? - Or doth the outside
Still wear a lying smooth indifference,

Thou 'rt in the fashion, then. The court, Bianca, While the unseen heart is haggard wan with woe? The ladies of the court, find me a fair gentleman ; FAZIO.

Ay, and a dangerous wit too, that smites smartly.
Is 't possible? And didst thou love me, lady?
Though it be joy vain and unprofitable

And thou believest it all!
As is the sunshine to a dead man's eyes,
Pleasureless from his impotence of pleasure ;

Why, if the gallants, Teil me and truly

The lordly and frank spirits of the time,

Troop around thee with gay rhymes on thy beauties,
My grave sir confessor, Tinkling their smooth and amorous flatteries,
On with thy hood and cowl.--So thou wouldst hear Shalt thou be then a solemn infidel?
Of pining days and discontented nights;
Ah me 's and doleful airs to my sad lute.

I shall not heed them; my poor beauty needs Fazio, they suffer most who utter least. —

Only one flatterer. Heaven, what a babbling traitor is the tongue!

FAZ10. Would not the air freeze up such sinful sound ?

Ay, but they 'll press on thee, Oh no, thou heard'st it not. Ah me! and thou, And force their music into thy deaf ears. I know, wilt surfeit the coarse common ear

Think ye, ye should be coy, and calm, and cold? With the proud Aldabella's fall. — Betray me not;

Be charier of her shame than Aldabella.

Oh, no! - I fear me a discourteous laugh
[Fazio falls on his knees to her. Might be their guerdon for their lavish lying.
My lord! my lord ! 't is public here
I'm staid for at my palace by the Arno.

But if one trip upon your lip, or wind
Farewell, my lord, farewell! - Betray me not:- Your fingers in his sportive hand, think ye
But never let me see her, Fazio, never.

Ye could endure it?
FAZIO (solus.)
Love me! – to suffering love me!- - why her love

Fazio, thou wrong'st me
Might draw a brazen statue from its pedestal, With such dishonest questionings. My lord,
And make its yellow veins leap up with life. There's such an awe in virtue, it can make
Fair Chastity, thou hast two juggling fiends

The anger of a sleek smooth brow like mine Caballing for thy jewel: one within,

Strike the hot libertine to dust before me And that's a mild and melting devil, Love;

He'd dare to dally with a fire in his hand, Th' other without, and that's a fair rich gentleman, Kiss ragged briars with his unholy lips, Giraldi Fazio: they 're knit in a league.

Ere with his rash assault atlaint my honour.


-- no more




And say,






Mine arms, mine arms, shall say the next “shall 1.0t ;' But if ye see me by a noble lady,

I'll never startle more thy peevish ears, Whispering as though she were my shrine, whereon But I'll speak to thee with my positive lips. I lay my odorous incense, and her beauty

[Kissing and clinging to him. Grow riper, richer at my cherishing praise ;

FAZIO. If she lean on me with a fond round arm,

Oh, what a wild and wayward child am I!If her eye drink the light from out mine eyes, Like the hungry fool, that in his moody fit And if her lips drop sounds for my ear only;

Dash'd from his lips his last delicious morsel.
Thou 'lt arch thy moody brow, look at me gravely, I'll see her once, Bianca, and but once ;
With a pale anger on thy silent cheek.

And then a rich and breathing tale I'll tell her
Tis out of keeping, 't is not the court fashion - Of our full happiness. If she be angel,
We must forego this clinging and the clasping; 'T will be a gleam of Paradise to her,
Be cold, and strange, and courteous to each other; And she 'll smile at it one of those soft smiles,

“ How doth my lord ?” “How slept my That makes the air seem sunny, blithe, and balmy. lady ?"

If she be devil — Nay, but that's too ugly; As though we dwelt at opposite ends o' the city. The fancy doth rebel at it, and shrink

As from a serpent in a knot of flowers. What hath distemper'd thee? - This is unnatural; Devil and Aldabella!— Fie! — They sound Thou couldst not talk thus in thy steadfast senses. Like nightingales and screech-owls heard together Fazio, thou hast seen Aldabella!.

What! must I still have tears to kiss away?

I will return — Good night! - It is but once.

See, thou 'st the taste o' my lips now at our parting; She is no basilisk - there's no death in her eyes. And when we meet again, if they be tainted,

Thou shalt-oh no, thou shalt not, canst not hate me. Ay, Fazio, but there is; and more than death

(Exeunt A death beyond the grave

- a death of sin A howling, hideous, and eternal death Death the flesh shrinks from. No, thou must not see her!

Nay, I 'm imperative--thou 'rt mine, and shalt not.

Palace of ALDABELLA.
Shalt not!-- Dost think me a thick-blooded slave,
To say “ Amen" unto thy positive “shalt not ?" My dainty bird doth hover round the lure,
The hand upon a dial, only to point

And I must hood him with a skilsul hand :
Just as your humorous ladyship choose to shine ? Rich and renown'd, he must be in my train,

Or Florence will turn rebel to my beauty.
Fazio, thou sett'st a fever in my brain;
My very lips burn, Fazio, at the thought:

Enter CLARA, Fazio behind.
I had rather thou wert in thy winding-sheet

ALDABELLA goes on.
Than that bad woman's arms; I had rather grave. Oh, Clara, have ye been to the Ursulines ?

What says my cousin, the kind Lady Abbess ?
Were on thy lips than that bad woman's kisses.


She says, my lady, that to-morrow noon How beit, there is no blistering in their taste : Noviciates are admitted ; but she wonders, There is no suffocation in those arms.

My Lady Abbess wonders, and I too

Wonder, my lady, what can make ye fancy Take heed; we are passionate ; our milk of love Those damp and dingy cloisters. Oh, my lady! Doth turn to wormwood, and that's bitter drinking. They 'll make ye cut off all this fine dark hair The fondest are most frenetic: where the fire Why, all the signiors in the court would quarrel, Burneth intensest, there the inmate pale

And cut each other's throats for a loose hair of it. Doth dread the broad and beaconing conflagration.

ALDABELLA. If that ye cast us to the winds, the winds

Ah me! what heeds it where I linger out
Will give us their unruly restless nature;

The remnant of my dark and despised life?
We whirl and whirl; and where we settle, Fazio, Clara, thou weariest me.
But he that ruleth the mad winds can know.

If ye do drive the love out of my soul,

Oh, but, my lady, That is its motion, being, and its life,

I saw their dress: it was so coarse and hard-grain'd, There'll be a conflict strange and horrible,

I'm sure 't would fret your ladyship’s soft skin Among all fearful and ill-visaged fiends,

Like thorns and brambles; and besides, the make For the blank void ; and their mad revel there

on 't! Will make me-oh, I know not what-hate thee ! - A vine-dresser's wife at market looks more dainty. Oh, no! -- I could not hate thee, Fazio : Vay, nay, my Fazio, 't is not come to that;

Then my tears will not stain it. Oh, 't is rich enough




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For lear and haggard sorrow. (Appearing to perceive
Fazio, exit CLARA.) Oh, my lord!

Oh, no! we must not part, we must not part.
You're timely come to tuke a long farewell. I came to tell thee something: what, I know not.
Our convent gates are rude, and black, and close ; I only know one word that should have been;
Our Ursuline veils of such a jealous woof,

And thai-Oh! if thy skin were seam'd with wrin There must be piercing in those curious eyes,

kles, Would know if the skin beneath be swarth or snowy. If on thy cheek sate sallow hollowness,

If thy warm voice spake shrieking, harsh, and shrill A convent for the brilliant Aldabella!

But to that breathing form, those ripe round lips,
The mirror of all rival lovelinesses,

Like a full parted cherry, those dark eyes,
The harp to which all gay thoughts lightly dance, Rich in such dewy languors I'll not say it
Mew'd in the drowsy silence of a cloister!

Nay, nay, 't is on me now! - Poison 's at work!

Now listen to me, lady. We must love.
Oh, what regards it, if a blind man lie
On a green lawn or on a steamy moor!

Love!- Ay, my lord, as far as honesty.
What heeds it to the dead and wither'd heart,
Whose faculty of rapture is grown sere,

IIonesty! — 'T is a stale and musty phrase ;
Hath lost distinction between foul and fair,

At least at court: and why should we be traitors
Whether it house in gorgeous palaces,

To the strong tyrant Custom ?
Or 'mid wan graves and haggard signs of care!
Oh, there's a grief, so with the threads of being
Ravellid and twined, it sickens every sense :

My lord Fazio -
Then is the swinging and monotonous bell

Oh, said I my lord Fazio ?-— thou 'lt betray me:

The bride-the wife-she that I mean-My lord,
Musical as the rich harp heard by moonlight;
Then are the limbs insensible if they rest

I am nor splenetic nor envious;
On the coarse pallet or the pulpy down.

But 't is a name I dare not trust my lips with.


Bianca, oh Bianca is her name ; What mean ye, lady ? — thou bewilder'st me.

The mild Bianca, the soft fond Bianca.
What grief so wanton and luxurious

Oh to that name, e'en in the Church of God,
Would choose the Lady Aldabella's bosom
To pillow on?

I pledged a solemn faith.

Oh, my lord, untold love.

Within that Church
Nay, Fazio, gaze not on me so; my tongue

Barren and solitary my sad name
Can scarcely move for the fire within my cheeks ---- Shall sound, when the pale nun profess'd doth wed
It cankereth, it consumeth, untold love.

That her cold bridegroom Solitude: and yet
But if it burst iis secret prison-house,

Her right - ere she had seen you, we had loved,
And venture on the broad and public air,

FAZIO (franticly.)
It leagueth with a busy fiend callid Shame; Why should we dash the goblet from our lips,
And they both dog their game, till


Because the dregs may have a smack of bitter? Fastens upon it with a viper’s fang,

Why should that pale and clinging consequence
And rings its being with its venomous coil.

Thrust itself ever 't wixt us and our joys ?

Misery and thee !--- oh, 't is unnatural! -

My lord, 't is well our convent walls are high,
Oh, yoke thee to that thing of darkness, misery! - And our gates massy ; else ye raging tigers
That Ethiop, that grim Moor! - it were to couple Might rush upon us simple maids unveil'd.
The dove and kite within one loving leash.
It must not be; nay, ye must be divorced.

A veil! a veil! why Florence will be dark

At noonday: or thy beauty will fire up,
Ah no, my lord! we are too deeply pledged. By the contagion of its own bright lustre,
Dost thou remember our old poet's* legend

The dull dead flux to so intense a brilliance, Over llell gates Hope comes not here?” Where ”T will look like one of those rich purple clouds hope

On the pavilion of the setting sun.
Comes not, is hell; and what have I to hope ?


My lord, I've a poor banquet here within;
Vhat hast to hope ?– Thou 'rt strangely beautiful- Will 't please ye taste it?

FAZIO. Wouldst thou leave Nattery thy last ravishing sound

Ay, wine, wine! ay, wine! l'pon mine ears ? — 'Tis kind, 't is fatally kind.

I'll drown thee, thou officious preacher, here! (Clasp

ing his forehead.)
* Dante.
Wine, wine!


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The man with a brief name; 't was gaming, dicing,

Riotously drinking.-Oh it was not there;

'Twas any where but there-or if it was,
Palace of Fazio.

Why like a sly and creeping adder sting me

With thy black ridings ?--Nay, nay : good my friend ; BIANCA

Here's money for those harsh intemperate words.Not all the night, not all the long, long night, But he's not there; 't was some one of the gallants, Not come to me! not send to me! not think on me! With dress and stature like my Fazio. Like an unrighteous and unburied ghost,

Thou wert mistaken :-no, no; 't was not Fazio. I wander up and down these long arcades. Oh, in our old poor narrow home, if haply

It grieves me much, but, lady, 't is my fear
He lingerd late abroad, domestic things

Thou'll find it but too true.
Close and familiar crowded all around me;
The tic king of the clock, the finpping motion

Hence! hence! Avaunt, Of the green lattice, the grey curtains' folds,

With thy cold courteous face! Thou seest I'm The hangings of the bed myself had wrought,

wretched : Yea, e'en his black and iron crucibles,

Doth it content thee? Gaze-gaze!-perchance Were to me as iny friends. But here, oh here,

Ye would behold the bare and bleeding heart, Where all is coldiy, comforilessly costly,

With all its throbs, its agonies.-Oh Fazio ! All strange, all new in uncouth gorgeousness,

Oh Fazio! is her smile more sweet than mine? Lofty and long, a wider space for misery –

Or her soul fonder?-Fazio, my lord Fazio ! E'en ny own footsteps on these marble floors

Before the face of man mine own, mine only; Are marcuriom'd unfamiliar sounds.

Before the face of Heaven Bianca's Fazio, Oh, I am here so wearily miserable,

Not Aldabella's.-- Ah, that I should live That I should welcome my apostate Fazio, 'Though he were fresh from Allabella's arms.

To question it ! - Now, henceforth allour joy's, Her arins! - her viper coil! --I had forsu orn

Our delicate indearments, are all poison'd. That thought; lest he should come, and find me mad, Ay! if he speak my name with his tond voice,

It will be with the same tone that in her And so go back again, and I not know it.

lle murinard hers:-it will be, or 'I will seem so. Oh that I were a child to play with toys,

If he embrace me. 'I will be with those arms
Fix my whole soul upon a cup and ball-

In which he folded her: and if he kiss me,
Oh any puutul poor subiertuge,
A moment to distract my busy spirit

He'll pause, and think which of the two is sweeter
From its dark dalliane with that cursed image!
I have tried all. all vainly - Now, but now

Nay, good my larly, give not entertainment I went in to my children. The first sounds

To such sick fancies; Think on lighter mallers. Thep murmur'd in their evil-dreaming sleep

I heard strange neus abrond : the Duke's ju council Was a Cuni mimicry of the name of father.

Debating on the draih of old Bartolo, I could not kiss them, my lips were so hot.

The grey lean ust'rer. Ile's been long abroad, Thierry household sin ves are leagued against me, And died, they think. Ando beset ine with their wicked floutings,

BIANCA • Comes my lord home to-night?" -- and when I say,

Well, sir, and what of that? "I knw no:," their coarse pity makes my heart. And have I not the privilege of sorrow.

Without a menial's staring eve upon me?
Theb !!! 'he agony.--Enter PIERo.)-Well, what Who sent ihee thus 10 charter my free thoughta,


And tell them where to shrink, and where to parse ? Var, 1x ll ut with thy lips, not with thy visage. Officious slave, away! -(Exil.) — 11! ahat saidst TH.. raven, croak it out if it be evil:

thou? If it ther. I ll fail and worship thee;

Bartolo's death' and the Duke in his council !-. is the office and she ministry of goods

I'll rend him from her, thongh she wine around him, TV's good tidings to distracted spirits.

Like the vine round the elm. I'll pluck him ofl,

Though the life crack at parting -No, no pause ; List night my lord did feast

For if there is, I shall be lame and timorons:

That milk-faced merey will come whimpering to me

Speak it at once -- And I shall sit and meekly, miserably hure? wher?! -- I'll wring it from thy lips. - Weep o'er my wrongs. -- lla! that her soul were Whacre! where!


And fervent as mine own! I would give worlds Luy, at the Marchesa Vidabella's.

To see her as he's rent and rack'd from her.

Oh, but she's cold; she cannot, will not feel
Thou likst, tice slave: 't was at the Ducal Palace, It is but half revenge: her whole of sorrow
"Twas at the arsenal with the oflicers,

Will be a drop to my consummate agony.--"Twar with the wild rich snator-him-him-him- Away, away: Oh had I wings to wast me!


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