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Spilt noble blood, I guarantee thy safety; But then thou must withdraw, for angry friends

And relatives, in the first burst of vengeance,
Are things in Venice deadlier than the laws.
Bertram. My lord, I thank you; but-
Lioni. But what? You have not
Raised a rash hand against one of our order?
If so, withdraw and fly, and own it not;
I would not slay-but then I must not save

He who has shed patrician blood

Bertram. I come

To save patrician blood, and not to shed it!
And thereunto I must be speedy, for
Each minute lost may lose a life: since Time
Has changed his slow scythe for the two-
edged sword,

And is about to take, instead of sand,
The dust from sepulchres to fill his hour-

Go not thou forth to-morrow!

Lioni. Wherefore not? What means this menace?

Bertram. Do not seek its meaning, But do as I implore thee;-stir not forth, Whate'er be stirring; though the roar of crowds

The cry of women, and the shrieks of babes The groans of men—the clash of arms - the sound

Of rolling drum, shrill trump, and hollow bell,

Peal in one wide alarum!-Go not forth Until the tocsin 's silent, nor even then Till I return!

Lioni. Again, what does this mean? Bertram. Again, I tell thee, ask not; but by all

Lioni. I am indeed already lost in wonder; Surely thou ravest! what have I to dread? Who are my foes? or if there be such, why Art thou leagued with them?-thou! or if so leagued,

Why comest thou to tell me at this hour, And not before?

Bertram. I cannot answer this. Wilt thou go forth despite of this true warning?

Lioni. I was not born to shrink from

idle threats,

The cause of which I know not: at the hour
Of council, be it soon or late, I shall not
Be found among the absent.
Bertram. Say not so!

Once more, art thou determined to go forth? Lioni. I am; nor is there aught which shall impede me!

Bertram. Then Heaven have mercy on [Going.

thy soul!-Farewell!

Lioni. Stay-there is more in this than my own safety

Which makes me call thee back; we must not part thus:

Bertram, I have known thee long.

Bertram. From childhood, signor,
You have been my protector: in the days
Of reckless infancy, when rank forgets,
Or, rather, is not yet taught to remember
Its cold prerogative, we play'd together;
Our sports, our smiles, our tears, were
mingled oft;

My father was your father's client, I
His son's scarce less than foster-brother;

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We sprung, and you, devoted to the state, As suits your station, the more humble Bertram

Was left unto the labours of the humble, Still you forsook me not; and if my fortunes Have not been towering, 'twas no fault of him Who oft-times rescued and supported me

Thou holdest dear on earth or heaven-When struggling with the tides of circum

by all

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Muffled to whisper curses to the night; Disbanded soldiers, discontented ruffians, And desperate libertines who brawl in taverns;

Thou herdest not with such: 'tis true, of late I have lost sight of thee, but thou wert wont To lead a temperate life, and break thy bread

With honest mates, and bear a cheerful aspect.

What hath come to thee? in thy hollow eye And hueless cheek, and thine unquiet motions, Sorrow and shame and conscience seem at


To waste thee.

Bertram. Rather shame and sorrow light On the accursed tyranny which rides The very air in Venice, and makes men Madden as in the last hours of the plague Which sweeps the soul deliriously from life! | Lioni. Some villains have been tampering with thee, Bertram;

This is not thy old language, nor own thoughts;

Some wretch has made thee drunk with disaffection;

But thou must not be lost so; thou wert good And kind, and art not fit for such base acts As vice and villany would put thee to: Confess - confide in me-thou know'st my nature

What is it thou and thine are bound to do, Which should prevent thy friend, the only


Of him who was a friend unto thy father,
So that our good-will is a heritage
We should bequeath to our posterity
Such as ourselves received it, or augmented;
I say, what is it thou must do, that I
Should deem thee dangerous, and keep the

Like a sick girl?

Bertram. Nay, question me no further: I must be gone.—

Lioni. And I be murder'd!—say, Was it not thus thou saidst, my gentle Bertram?

Bertram. Who talks of murder? what said I of murder?'Tis false! I did not utter such a word. Lioni. Thou didst not; but from out thy wolfish eye,

So changed from what I knew it, there glares forth

The gladiator. If my life's thine object,
Take it-I am unarm'd,- and then away!
I would not hold my breath on such a tenure
As the capricious mercy of such things
As thou and those who have set thee to thy

Bertram. Sooner than spill thy blood,
I peril mine;

Sooner than harm a hair of thine, I place In jeopardy a thousand heads, and some As noble, nay, even nobler than thine own.

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Glorious to save than slay, and slay i' the dark too

Fie, Bertram! that was not a craft for thee! How would it look to see upon a spear The head of him whose heart was open to thee,

Borne by thy hand before the shuddering people?

And such may be my doom; for here I swear,
Whate'er the peril or the penalty
Of thy denunciation, I go forth,
Unless thou dost detail the cause, and show
The consequence of all which led thee here!
Bertram. Is there no way to save thee?

minutes fly,

And thou art lost!-thou! my sole benefactor,

The only being who was constant to me Through every change. Yet, make me not a traitor!

Let me save thee --but spare my honour! Lioni. Where

Can lie the honour in a league of murder? And who are traitors save unto the state? Bertram. A league is still a compact, and more binding

In honest hearts when words must stand for law;

And in my mind, there is no traitor like He whose domestic treason plants the poniard Within the breast which trusted to his truth. Lioni. And who will strike the steel to mine?

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Lioni. Say, rather thy friend's saviour | SCENE II.—The Ducal Palace-the Doge's and the state's !—

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Lioni (continues). Take care He hath no harm; bring me my sword and cloak;

And man the gondola with four oars-
[Exit Antonio.
We will unto Giovanni Gradenigo's,
And send for Marc Cornaro :-fear not,
Bertram ;

This needful violence is for thy safety,
No less than for the general weal.

Bertram. Where wouldst thou
Bear me a prisoner?

Lioni. Firstly, to "The Ten;"

Next to the Doge.

Bertram. To the Doge?
Lioni. Assuredly;

Is he not chief of the state?
Bertram. Perhaps at sunrise—
Lioni. What mean you?—but we'll know

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As well had there been time to have got together

From my own fief, Val di Marino, more Of our retainers-but it is too late.

B. Fal. Methinks, my lord, 'tis better as it is;

A sudden swelling of our retinue Had waked suspicion; and, though fierce and trusty,

The vassals of that district are too rude The secret discipline we need for such And quick in quarrel to have long maintain'd A service, till our foes are dealt upon.

Doge. True; but when once the signal has been given,

These are the men for such an enterprise:
These city-slaves have all their private bias,
Their prejudice against or for this noble,
Which may induce them to o'erdo or spare
Where mercy may be madness; the fierce

Serfs of my county of Val di Marino,
Would do the bidding of their lord without
Distinguishing for love or hate his foes;
Alike to them Marcello or Cornaro,
A Gradenigo or a Foscari;

They are not used to start at those vain

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The die is thrown; but for a warlike service, Done in the field, commend me to my peasants;

They made the sun shine through the host of Huns

When sallow burghers slunk back to their tents,

And cower'd to hear their own victorious trumpet.

If there be small resistance, you will find These citizens all lions, like their standard; But if there's much to do, you'll wish, withme, A band of iron rustics at our backs.

B. Fal. Thus thinking, I must marvel you resolved

To strike the blow so suddenly.

Doge. Such blows

Must be struck suddenly or never.


I had o'ermaster'd the weak false remorse

Which yearn'd about my heart, too fondly | Timoleon immortal, than to face


A moment to the feelings of old days,
I was most fain to strike; and, firstly, that
I might not yield again to such emotions;
And, secondly, because of all these men,
Save Israel and Philip Calendaro,

I know not well the courage or the faith:
To-day might find 'mongst them a traitor

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That moment, a mere voice, a straw, a shadow

Are capable of turning them aside.—
How goes the night?

B. Fal. Almost upon the dawn.

Doge. Then it is time to strike upon the bell.

Are the men posted?

B. Fal. By this time they are; But they have orders not to strike, until They have command from you through me in person,

Doge. Tis well.—Will the morn never put to rest

These stars which twinkle yet o'er all the heavens?

I am settled and bound up, and being so, The very effort which it cost me to Resolve to cleanse this commonwealth with fire,

Now leaves my mind more steady. I have wept,

And trembled at the thought of this dread duty;

But now I have put down all idle passion, And look the growing tempest in the face, As doth the pilot of an admiral-galley: Yet (wouldst thou think it, kinsman ?) it

hath been

A greater struggle to me, than when nations Beheld their fate merged in the approaching fight,

Where I was leader of a phalanx, where
Thousands were sure to perish—Yes, to spill
The rank polluted current from the veins
Of a few bloated despots needed more
To steel me to a purpose such as made

The toils and dangers of a life of war.

B. Fal. It gladdens me to see your former wisdom

Subdue the furies which so wrung you ere You were decided.

Doge. It was ever thus

With me; the hour of agitation came
In the first glimmerings of a purpose, when
Passion had too much room to sway; but in
The hour of action I have stood as calm
As were the dead who lay around me: this
They knew who made me what I am, and

To the subduing power which I preserved
Over my mood, when its first burst was spent.
But they were not aware that there are things
Which make revenge a virtue by reflection,
And not an impulse of mere anger; though
The laws sleep, justice wakes, and injured

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See that they strike without delay, and with The first toll from St. Mark's, march on the palace

With all our house's strength! here I will meet you

The Sixteen and their companies will move In separate columns at the self-same mo


Be sure you post yourself by the great gate, I would not trust "The Ten" except to us— The rest, the rabble of patricians, may Glut the more careless swords of those leagued with us.

Remember that the cry is still "Saint Mark! The Genoese are come-ho! to the rescue! Saint Mark and liberty!"-Now-now to action!

B. Fal. Farewell then, noble uncle! we will meet

In freedom and true sovereignty, or never! Doge. Come hither, my Bertuccio-one embrace


Speed, for the day grows broader-Send

me soon

A messenger to tell me how all goes
When you rejoin our troops, and then

The storm-bell from Saint Mark's!
[Exit Bertuccio Faliero

Doge (solus). He is gone,

| And on each footstep moves a life.-Tis done.
Now the destroying Angel hovers o'er
Venice, and pauses ere he pours the vial,
Even as the Eagle overlooks his prey,

And for a moment poised in middle air,
Suspends the motion of his mighty wings,
Then swoops with his unerring beak.-
Thou day!

That slowly walk'st the waters! march-
march on

I would not smite i' the dark, but rather see That no stroke errs. And you, ye blue sea-waves!

I have seen you dyed ere now, and deeply too,

With Genoese, Saracen, and Hunnish gore,
While that of Venice flow'd too, but vic-

Now thou must wear an unmix'd crimson; no
Barbaric blood can reconcile us now
Unto that horrible incarnadine,

But friend or foe will roll in civic slaughter.
And have I lived to fourscore years for this?
I, who was named Preserver of the City?
I, at whose name the million's caps were

Into the air, and cries from tens of thousands
Rose up, imploring Heaven to send me

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Thy prince, of treason? Who are they that dare

Cloak their own treason under such an order?

Sign. of the Night (showing his order). Behold my order from the assembled Ten. Doge. And where are they, and why assembled? no

Such council can be lawful, till the prince Preside there, and that duty's mine: on thine

And fame and length of days-to see this day?
But this day black within the calendar,
Shall be succeeded by a bright millennium.
Doge Dandolo survived to ninety summers
To vanquish empires and refuse their crown;
I will resign a crown, and make the state
Renew its freedom-but oh! by what means?
The noble end must justify them - What
Are a few drops of human blood? 'tis false, | I charge thee, give me way, or marshal me
The blood of tyrants is not human; they,
Like to incarnate Molochs, feed on ours,
Until 'tis time to give them to the tombs
Which they have made so populous.-Oh

Oh men! what are ye, and our best designs, That we must work by crime to punish crime?

And slay as if Death had but this one gate,
When a few years would make the sword

And I, upon the verge of th' unknown realm,
Yet send so many heralds on before me?-
I must not ponder this. (A pause.) Hark!
was there not

A murmur as of distant voices, and
The tramp of feet in martial unison?
What phantoms even of sound our wishes


It cannot be the signal hath not rung—
Why pauses it? My nephew's messenger
Should be upon his way to me, and he
Himself perhaps even now draws grating


To the council-chamber.

Sign. of the Night. Duke, it may not be;
Nor are they in the wonted Hall of Council,
But sitting in the convent of Saint Saviour's.
Doge. You dare to disobey me then?
Sign. of the Night. I serve

The state, and needs must serve it faithfully;
My warrant is the will of those who rule it.
Doge. And till that warrant has my


It is illegal, and, as now applied, Rebellious-Hast thou weigh'd well thy life's worth,

That thus you dare assume a lawless function?

Sign. of the Night. Tis not my office
to reply, but act—

I am placed here as guard upon thy person,
And not as judge to hear or to decide.

Doge (aside). I must gain time - So that
the storm-bell sound,
All may be well yet.-Kinsman, speed—

Our fate is trembling in the balance, and
Woe to the vanquish'd! be they prince and

Upon its ponderous hinge the steep tower-
Where swings the sullen huge oracular bell, | Or slaves and senate-
Which never knells but for a princely death,
Or for a state in peril, pealing forth
Tremendous bodements; let it do its office,
And be this peal its awfullest and last!

[The great bell of Saint Mark's tolls. Lo! it sounds-it tolls!

Doge (aloud). Hark, Signor of the Night! and you, ye hirelings,

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