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Swords, hungers, fires, destructions of all natures,

Demolishments of kingdoms, and whole ruins,

80 Are wont to be my orators. Turn to tears,

You wretched and poor seeds of sun-burnt
Egypt!

And now you've found the nature of a con-
queror,

That you cannot decline, with all your flatteries,

That where the day gives light, will be himself still;

Know how to meet his worth with human courtesies!

See also THIERRY AND THEODORET

Act IV.—Scene I.—'Your grace is early' 'heart strings."

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Go, and embalm those bones of that great soldier,

Howl round about his pile, fling on your
spices,

Make a Sabean bed, and place this phoenix
Where the hot sun may emulate his virtues,
And draw another Pompey from his ashes «
Divinely great, and fix him 'mongst the
worthies!

My grief has stopt the rest! When Pompey lived,

He used you nobly; now he's dead, use him so.

GEORGE GORDON, LORD BYRON

^1788-1824)

MANFRED

Act III.—Scene 4.

MANFRED.

The stars are forth, the moon above the tops
Of the snow-shining mountains.—Beautiful I
I linger yet with Nature, for the night
Hath been to me a more familiar face
Than that of man; and in her starry shade
Of dim and solitary loveliness,
I learned the language of another world.
I do remember me, that in my youth,
When I was wandering,—upon such a night
to j stood within the Coliseum s wall,

'Midst the chief relics of almighty Rome;
The trees which grew along the broken
arches

Waved dark in the blue midnight, and the
stars

Shone through the rents of ruin; from afar
The watchdog bayed beyond the Tiber; and
More near from out the Ciesars' palace came
The owl's long cry, and, interruptedly,

Of distant sentinels the fitful song
Begun and died upon the gentle wind.
Some cypresses beyond the time - worn 21
breach

Appeared to skirt the horizon, yet they stood
Within a bowshot. Where the Qesars dwelt,
And dwell the tuneless birds of nighi,
amidst

A grove which springs through levelled

battlements, And twines its roots with the imperial

hearths,

Ivy usurps the laurel's place of growth;—
But the gladiators' bloody Circus stands,
A noble wreck in ruinous perfection,
While Cesar's chambers, and the Augustan
halls,

Grovel on earth in indistinct decay. 3c
And thou didst shine, thou rolling moon,
upon

All this, and cast a wide and tender light,
Which softened down the hoar austerity
Of rugged desolation, and filled up,

As 'twere anew, the gaps of centuries,
Leaving that beautiful which was still so,
And making that which was not, till the
place

Became religion, and the heart ran o'er

With silent worship of the great of old,— The dead, but sceptred sovereigns, who still 40 rule

Our spirits from their urns.

MARINO FALIERO, Act V.—Scene 3.

MARINO FALIERO.

I speak to Time and to Eternity,
Of which I grow a portion, not to man.
Ye elements! in which to be resolved
I hasten, let my voice be as a spirit
Upon you! Ye blue waves! which bore my
banner,

Ye winds! which fluttered o'er as if you loved
it,

And filled my swelling sails as they were wafted To many a triumph! Thou, my native earth, Which I have bled for! and thou, foreign earth 10 Which drank this willing blood from many a wound!

Ye stones, in which my gore will not sink, but
Reek up to heaven! Ye skies, which will
receive it!

Thou sun! which shinest on these things, and
Thou

Who kindlest and who quenchest suns!—
Attest!

I am not innocent—but are these guiltless?
I perish, but not unavenged: far ages
Float up from the abyss of time to be,
And show these eyes, before they close, the
doom

Of this proud city, and I leave my curse

20 On her and hers for ever! Yes, the hours

Are silently engendering of the day, When she, who built 'gainst Attila a bulwark, Shall yield, and bloodlessly and basely yield Unto a bastard Attila, without Shedding so much blood in her last defence, As these old veins, oft drained in shielding her, Shall pour in sacrifice.—She shall be bought And sold, and be an appanage to those Who shall despise her!—She shall stoop to be 30 A province for an empire, petty town In lieu of capital, with slaves for senates, Beggars for nobles, panders for a people! Then, when the Hebrew's in thy palaces, The Hun in thy high places, and the Greek Walks o'er thy mart, and smiles on it for his: When thy patricians beg their bitter bread In narrow streets, and in their shameful need Make their nobility a plea for pity! Then, when the few who still retain a wreck 40 Of their great fathers' heritage shall fawn

Round a barbarian Vice of Kings' Vicegerent,

DOGE OF VENICE

Even in the palace where they swayed as sovereigns,

Even in the palace where they slew their sovereign,

Proud of some name they have disgraced, or
sprung

From an adulteress boastful of her guilt
With some large gondolier or foreign soldier,
Shall bear about their bastardy in triumph
To the third spurious generation; — when
Thy sons are in the lowest scale of being,
Slaves turned o'er to the vanquished by the 50
victors,

Despised by cowards for greater cowardice,
And scorned even by the vicious for such vices
As in the monstrous grasp of their conception
Defy all codes to image or to name them;
Then, when of Cyprus, now thy subject
kingdom,

All thine inheritance shall be her shame
Entailed on thy less virtuous daughters, grown
A wider proverb for worse prostitution;—
When all the ills of conquered states shall cling
thee,

Vice without splendour, sin without relief 60
Even from the gloss of love to smooth it o'er,
But in its stead, coarse lusts of habitude,
Prurient yet passionless, cold studied lewdness,
Depraving nature's frailty to an art:—
When these and more are heavy on thee, when
Smiles without mirth, and pastimes without
pleasure,

Youth without honour, age without respect,
Meanness and weakness, and a sense of woe
'Gainst which thou wilt not strive, and dar'st
not murmur,

Have made thee last and worst of peopled 70

deserts,—
Then, in the last gasp of thine agony,
Amidst thy many murders, think of mine/
Thou den of drunkards with the blood of

princes!

Gehenna of the waters! thou sea Sodom!
Thus I devote thee to the infernal gods!
Thee and thy serpent seed!

(To the Executioner.) Slave, do thine office! Strike as I struck the foe! Strike as I would Have struck those tyrants I Strike deep as my curse!

Strike—and but once! 80 Act I.—Scene I.

SARDANAPALUS

SALEMENES, SARDANAPALUS, MYRRHA.

Sal. (Solus.) He hath wronged his queen, but still he is her lord; lie hath wronged my sister, still he is my brother;

He hath wronged his people, still he is their sovereign,

And I must be his friend as well as subject;
He must not perish thus. I will not see
The blood of Nimrod and Semiramis
Sink in the earth, and thirteen hundred years
Of empire ending like a shepherd's tale;
He must be roused. In his effeminate heart
There is a careless courage which corruption
Has not all quenched, and latent energies,
Repressed by circumstance, but not destroyed—
Steeped, but not drowned, in deep voluptuous-

He must be roused. Alas! there is no sound
To rouse him short of thunder.—Hark! the lute,
The lyre, the timbrel; the lascivious tinklings
Of lulling instruments, the softening voices
Of women, and of beings less than women,
Must chime in to the echo of his revel,
While the great King of all we know of earth
Trolls crowned with roses, and his diadem
Lies negligently by to be caught up
By the first manly hand which dares to snatch it.
Lo, where they come

Enter Sardanapalus.
Sar. (Speaking lo some of his attendants.)
Let the pavilion over the Euphrates
Be garlanded, and lit, and furnished forth
For an especial banquet; at the hour
Of midnight we will sup there: see nought

wanting, And bid the galley be prepared.

And thou, my own Ionian Myrrha, choose
Wilt thou along with them or me?

Accompany our guests, or charm away
The moments from me?

Myr. The King's choice is mine.

Sar. I pray thee say nut so: my chiefest joy Is to contribute to thine every wish.

Myr. I would remain: I have no happiness

Save in beholding thine; yet

Sar. Yet! what YET?

Myr. I think the present is the wonted hour Of council; it were better I retire.

Sal. (Comes forward and says.) The Ionian slave says well: let her retire.

Myr. My sovereign,

I pray, and thou, too, prince, permit my absence.

Sar. Since it must be so . . .

go; but recollect That we must forthwith meet: I had rather lose An empire than thy presence.

[Exit Myrrha.

Sal. It may be

Thou wilt lose both, and both for ever!

Sar. Brother!

I can at least command myself, who listen
To language such as this: yet urge me not
Beyond my easy nature.

Sal. Tis beyond

That easy, far too easy, idle nature,
Which I would urge thee. O that I could

rouse thee!
Though 'twere against myself.

Sar. By the god Baal'.

The man would make me tyrant.

Sal. So thou art.

Think'st thou there is no tyranny but that
Of blood and chains? The despotism of vice,

The negligence, the apathy, the evils

Of sensual sloth—produce ten thousand tyrants,

Whose delegated cruelty surpasses

The worst acts of one energetic master.

.Siir. Come, I'm indulgent, as thou knowest, patient,

As thou hast often proved—speak out, what
moves thee?
Sal. Thy peril.
Sar. Say on.

Sal. Thus, then: all the nations;

For they are many, whom thy father left
In heritage, are loud in wrath against thee.

Sar. 'Gainst me! What would the slaves?

Sal. A king.

Sar. And what

Am I then?

Sal. In their eyes a nothing; but

In mine a man who might be something still.

Sar. I understand thee—thou would'st have me go

Forth as a conqueror. By all the stars
Which the Chaldeans read—the restless slaves
Deserve that I should curse them with their
wishes,

And lead them forth to glory!

Sal. Wherefore not?

f Semiramis—a woman only—led I These our Assyrians to the solar shores Of Ganges,

Ho Sar. Tis most true. And how returned? Sal. Why, like a man—a hero; baffled, but Xot vanquished. With but twenty guards, she made

Good her retreat to Bactria.

Sar. And how many

Left she behind in India to the vultures?

Sal. Our annals say not.

Sar. Then I will say for them—

That she had better woven within her palace Some twenty garments, than with twenty guards loo Have fled to Bactria, leaving to the ravens,

And wolves, and men—the fiercer of the three—
Her myriads of fond subjects. Is this glory?
Then let me live in ignominy ever!

Sal. I would but have recalled thee from thy dream;

Better by me awakened than rebellion.

Sar. Who should rebel? or why? what cause? pretext?]

Sal. I only echo thee the voice of empires, Which he who long neglects not long will govern.

Sar. The ungrateful and ungracious slaves! they murmur

no Because I have not shed their blood, nor led them

To dry into the desert's dust by myriads,
Or whiten with their bones the banks of
Ganges;

Nor decimated them with savage laws,
Nor sweated them to build up pyramids,
Or Babylonian walls.

Sal. Yet these are trophies

More worthy of a people and their prince Than songs, and lutes, and feasts, and concubines,

And lavished treasures, and contemned virtues. 120 Sar. Or for my trophies I have founded cities:

There's Tarsus and Anc'iialus, both built
In one day — what could that blood-loving
beldame,

My martial grandam, chaste Semiramis,
Do more, except destroy them?

Sal. 'Tis most true,

I own thy merit in those founded cities,
Built for a whim, recorded with a verse,
Which shames both them and thee to coming
ages.

'Sar. Shame me! by Baal, the cities, though

well built,

'30 Are not more goodly than the verse! Say what

Thou wilt 'gainst me, my mode of life or rule.

But nothing 'gainst the truth of that brief record.

Why, those few lines contain the history
Of all things human: hear—' Sardanapalus,
The King, and son of Anacyndaraxes,
In one day built Anchialus and Tarsus.
Eat, drink, and love; the rest's not worth a
fillip.'

Sal. A worthy moral, and a wise inscription,
For a king to put up before his subjects!

Sar. O, thou would'st have me doubtless 140 set up edicts, 'Obey the King—contribute to his treasure— Recruit his phalanx — spill your blood at bidding—

[Fall down and worship, or get up and toil.'
Or thus—' Sardanapalus on this spot
Slew fifty thousand of his enemies.
These are their sepulchres, and this his
trophy.']

I leave such things to conquerors: enough
For me, if I can make my subjects feel
The weight of human misery less, and glide
Ungroaning to the tomb: I take no license 150
Which I deny to them. We all are men.

Sal. Thy sires have been revered as gods

Sar. In dust

And death, where they are neither gods nor men.

Talk not of such to me! the worms are gods;

Those gods were merely men; look to their issue—

I feel a thousand mortal things about me,

But nothing godlike,—unless it may be

The thing which you condemn, a disposition

To love and to be merciful, to pardon 160

The follies of my species, and (that's human)

To be indulgent to my own.

Sal. Alas!
The doom of Nineveh is sealed.—Woe—woe
To the unrivalled city!

Sar. What dost dread?

Sal. Thou art guarded by thy foes: in a few hours

The tempest may break out which overwhelms thee,

And thine and mine; and in another day

What is shall be the past of Belus' race. 170

Sar. What must we dread?

Sal. Ambitious treachery,

Which has environed thee with snares; but yet
There is resource: empower me with thy signet
To quell the machinations, and I lay
The heads of thy chief foes before thy feet

Give me thy signet—trust mc with the rest. Sar. I will trust no man with unlimited lives.

Sal. Would'st thou not take their lives who

seek for thine? Sar. That's a hard question—but I answer, 180

Yes.

Cannot the thing be done without? who are they

Whom thou suspectest?—Let them be arrested. Sal. I would thou would'st not ask me; the

next moment Will send my answer through thy babbling

troop

Of paramours, and thence fly o'er the palace*
Even to the city, and so baffle all.—
Trust me.

Sar. Thou knowest I have done so ever | Take thou the signet.

THE TWO FOSCARI

Act I.—Scene I.

JACOPO FOSCARI, OFFICER.

Jac. Eos. I'm faint;

Let me approach, I pray you, for a breath
Of air, yon window which o'erlooks the
waters.

Enter an Officer, who whispers
Barbarigo.
Bar. {To the Guard.) Let him approach.
I must not speak with him
Further than thus: I have trangressed my
duty

In this brief parley, and must now redeem it
Within the Council Chamber.

[Exit Barbarigo.
(GuardconductingJacopo Eoscari
to the window.)
Guard. There, sir, 'tis

Open.—How feel you? 10 Jac. Eos. Like a boy—O, Venice!

Guard. And your limbs?
Jac. Eos. Limbs! how often have they
bome me

Bounding o'er yon blue tide, as I have

skimmed
The gondola along in childish race,
And, masqued as a young gondolier, amidst
My gay competitors, noble as I,
Raced for our pleasure, in the pride of

strength;

While the fair populace of crowding beauties, Plebeian as patrician, cheered us on 90 With dazzling smiles, and wishes audible,

And waving kerchiefs, and applauding hands, Even to the goal 1 — How many a time have I

Cloven with arm still lustier, breast more daring.

The wave all roughened; with a swimmer's stroke

Flinging the billows back from my drenched hair,

And laughing from my lip the audacious
bnne,

Which kissed it like a wine-cup, rising o'er
The waves as they arose, and prouder still

The loftier they uplifted me; and oft,
In wantonness of spirit, plunging down
Into their green and glassy gulfs, and making
My way to shells and sea-weed, all unseen
By those above, till they waxed fearful;
then

Returning with my grasp full of such tokens
As showed that I had searched the deep:
exulting,

With a far-dashing stroke, and drawing deep
The long-suspended breath, again I spurnea
The foam which broke around me, and
pursued

My track like a sea-bird.—I was a boy then.

Guard. Be a man now! there never was 4 more need Of manhood's strength. Jac. Eos. (Looking from the lattice.) My beautiful, my own, My only Venice—this is breath! Thy breeze, Thine Adrian sea-breeze, how it fans my face!

Thy very winds feel native to my veins,
And cool them into calmness! How unlike
The hot gales of the horrid Cyclades,
Which howled about my Candiote dungeon,
and

Made my heart sick 1

Guard. I see the colour comes 50

Back to your cheek: heaven send you

strength to bear What more may be imposed!—I dread to

think on't.

Jac. Eos. They will not banish me again ?—

No—no,

Let them wring on; I am strong yet.

Guard. Confess, And the rack will be spared you.

Jac. Eos. I confessed

Once—twice before: both times they exiled
me.

Guard. And the third time will slay you.
Jac. Eos. Let them do so, 60

So I be buried in my birth-place: better
Be ashes here, than aught that lives else-
where.

Guard. And can you so much love the
soil which hates you?

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