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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
And now you've found the nature of a con-
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."
Go, and embalm those bones of that great soldier,
Howl round about his pile, fling on your
Make a Sabean bed, and place this phoenix
My grief has stopt the rest! When Pompey lived,
He used you nobly; now he's dead, use him so.
GEORGE GORDON, LORD BYRON
Act III.—Scene 4.
The stars are forth, the moon above the tops
'Midst the chief relics of almighty Rome;
Waved dark in the blue midnight, and the
Shone through the rents of ruin; from afar
Of distant sentinels the fitful song
Appeared to skirt the horizon, yet they stood
A grove which springs through levelled
battlements, And twines its roots with the imperial
Ivy usurps the laurel's place of growth;—
Grovel on earth in indistinct decay. 3c
All this, and cast a wide and tender light,
As 'twere anew, the gaps of centuries,
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.
I speak to Time and to Eternity,
Ye winds! which fluttered o'er as if you loved
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
Thou sun! which shinest on these things, and
Who kindlest and who quenchest suns!—
I am not innocent—but are these guiltless?
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
From an adulteress boastful of her guilt
Despised by cowards for greater cowardice,
All thine inheritance shall be her shame
Vice without splendour, sin without relief 60
Youth without honour, age without respect,
Have made thee last and worst of peopled 70
Gehenna of the waters! thou sea Sodom!
(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.
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 be roused. Alas! there is no sound
wanting, And bid the galley be prepared.
And thou, my own Ionian Myrrha, choose
Accompany our guests, or charm away
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.
Sal. It may be
Thou wilt lose both, and both for ever!
I can at least command myself, who listen
Sal. Tis beyond
That easy, far too easy, idle nature,
Sar. By the god Baal'.
The man would make me tyrant.
Sal. So thou art.
Think'st thou there is no tyranny but that
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
Sal. Thus, then: all the nations;
For they are many, whom thy father left
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
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—
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,
Nor decimated them with savage laws,
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
My martial grandam, chaste Semiramis,
Sal. 'Tis most true,
I own thy merit in those founded cities,
'Sar. Shame me! by Baal, the cities, though
'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
Sal. A worthy moral, and a wise inscription,
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.'
I leave such things to conquerors: enough
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.
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
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
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
Of paramours, and thence fly o'er the palace*
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
Enter an Officer, who whispers
In this brief parley, and must now redeem it
Open.—How feel you? 10 Jac. Eos. Like a boy—O, Venice!
Guard. And your limbs?
Bounding o'er yon blue tide, as I have
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
Which kissed it like a wine-cup, rising o'er
The loftier they uplifted me; and oft,
Returning with my grasp full of such tokens
With a far-dashing stroke, and drawing deep
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,
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
Jac. Eos. They will not banish me again ?—
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
Guard. And the third time will slay you.
So I be buried in my birth-place: better
Guard. And can you so much love the