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To me, Politian, of thy camps and courts.
Oh, I am sick, sick, sick, even unto death,
Of the hollow and high-sounding vanities
Of the populous Earth! Bear with me yet awhile.
We have been boys together—schoolfellows,
And now are friends, yet shall not be so long;
For in the Eternal City thou shalt do me
A kind and gentle office, and a Power—
A Power august, benignant, and supreme—
Shall then absolve thee of all further duties
Unto thy friend.
Hal. Thou speakest a fearful riddle
I will not understand.
Pol. Yet now as Fate
Approaches, and the Hours are breathing low,
Bal. Indeed, I hear not.
Pol. Not hear it! listen now—listen! the faintest sound,
And yet the sweetest, that ear ever heard!
Bal. I myself hear it now.
Be still!—the voice, if I mistake not greatly,
Pol. Be still!— it comes again!
Voidt (very faintly).
"And is thy heart so strong
Who' hath loved thee so long
In wealth and woe among?
And is thy heart so strong
Say nay—say nay!'
Bal. The song is English, and I oft have heard it
Voice (more loudly).
Say nay—say nay!"
Bal. Tis hushed, and all is still!
Pol. All is not still!
Bal. Let us go down.
Pol. Go down, Baldazzar,—go!
Bal. The hour is growing late—the Duke awaits
Say nay—say nay!"
Your bearing lately savoured much of rudeness
Pol. Remember? I do. Lead on! I do remember. [Going. Let us descend. Believe me, I would give,— Freely would give, the broad lands of my earldom To look upon the face hidden by yon lattice,— "To gaze upon that veiled face, and hear Once more that silent tongue."
Bal. Let me beg you, sir,
Descend with me; the Duke may be offended.
Pol. (Aside.) 'Tis strange!—'tis very strange!
[Approaching the window. Sweet voice, I heed thee, and will surely stay! Now be this Fancy, by Heaven! or be it Fate, Still will I not descend. Baldazzar, make Apology unto the Duke for me: I go not down to-night.
Bal. Your lordship's pleasure
Shall be attended to. Good night, Politian.
Pol. Good night, my friend, good night.