Изображения страниц

C. Gracc. To the poor people !
The houseless citizens that sleep at nights
Before the portals, and that starve by day
Under the noses of the senators!
Thou art their magistrate, their friend, their father.
Dost thou betray them? Hast thou sold them? Wilt thou
Juggle them out of the few friends they have left?

Drusus. If 'twill content you, Caius, I am one
Who loves alike the senate and the people.
I am the friend of both.

C. Gracc. The friend of neither-
The senate's tool !a traitor to the people !
A man that seems to side with neither party;
Will now bend this way, and then make it

By leaning a little to the other side ;
With one eye, glance his pity on the crowd,
And with the other, crouch to the nobility;
Such men are the best instruments of tyranny.
The simple slave is easily avoided
By his external badge ; your order wears
The infamy within !

Drusus. I'll leave you, Caius,
And hope your breast will harbor better counsels.
Grudge you the senate's kindness to the people ?
'Tis well—whoe'er serves them shows love to me! (Exit.)

C. Gracc. Go! I have tilled a waste ; and, with my sweat, Brought hope of fruitage forth—the superficial And heartless soil cannot sustain the shoot: The first harsh wind that sweeps it, leaves it bare ! Fool that I was to till it! Let them go! I loved them and I served them !-Let them go!




Rienzi. Why, this
Is well, my lords, this full assemblage. Now
The chief of Rome stands fitly girt with names
Strong as their towers around him. Fall not off,
And we shall be impregnable. (Advancing up the room.)

Lord Nuncio,
I should have asked thy blessing. I have sent
Our missions to the pontiff. Count Savelli-
My lord embassador. I crave your pardon.
What news from Venice, the sea-queen? Savelli,
I have a little maiden who must know
Thy fairest daughter. Angelo, Colonna,
A double welcome! Rome lacked half her state
Wanting her princely columns.

Colonna. Sir, I come
A suitor to thee. Martin Ursini-

Rie. When last his name was on thy lips-
Well, sir,
Thy suit, thy suit! If pardon take at once
My answer—No.

Angelo. Yet, mercy

Rie. Angelo,
Waste not thy pleadings on a desperate cause
And a resolved spirit. She awaits thee.
Haste to that fairer court.

(Exit Angelo.) My lord Colonna, This is a needful justice.

Col. Noble Tribune,
It is a crime which custom-

Rie. Ay, the law
Of the strong against the weak-your law, the law
Of the sword and spear. But, gentles, ye lie now
Under the good estate. (Crossing to the centre.)

Savelli. He is a noble.

Rie. Therefore,
A thousand times he dies. Ye are noble, sirs,
And need a warning.

Col. Sick, almost to death.
Rie. Ye have less cause to grieve.
Frangipani. New wedded.

Rie. Ay,
Madonna Laura is a blooming dame,
And will become her weeds.

Cafarello. Remember Tribune,
He hath two uncles, cardinals. Wouldst outrage
The sacred college ?

Rie. The lord cardinals,
Meek, pious, lowly men, and loving virtue,
Will render thanks to him who wipes a blot
So flagrant from their name.

Col. An Ursini! Head of the Ursini!

Ursini. Mine only brother!

Rie. And darest talk thou to me of brothers? Thou, Whose groom—wouldst have me break my own just laws, To save thy brother ? thine! Hast thou forgotten When that most beautiful and blameless boy, The preitiest piece of innocence that ever Breathed in this sinful world, lay at thy feet, Slain by thy pampered minion, and I knelt Before thee for redress, whilst thou-didst never Hear talk of retribution! This is justice, Pure justice, not revenge!

Mark well, my

Pure equal justice. Martin Ursini
Had open trial, is guilty, is condemned-
And he shall die !

Col. Yet listen to us!

Rie. Lords,
If ye could range before me all the peers,
Prelates and potentates of Christendom-
The holy pontiff kneeling at my knee,
And emperors crouching at my feet, to sue
For this great robber, still I should be blind,
As justice. But this very day a-wife,
One infant hanging at her breast, and two
Scarce bigger, first-born twins of misery,
Clinging to the poor rags that scarcely hid
Her squalid form, grasped at my bridle-rein,
To beg her husband's life; condemned to die
For some vile petty theft, some paltry scudi-
And, whilst the fiery war-horse chafed and reared,
Shaking his crest, and plunging to get free,
There, 'midst the dangerous coil unmoved, she stood,
Pleading in broken words and piercing shrieks,
And hoarse low shivering sobs, the very cry
Of nature! And when I at last said no-
For I said no to her—she flung herself
And those poor innocent babes between the stones.

hot Arab's hoofs. We saved them all
Thank heaven, we saved them all! but I said no
To that sad woman, 'midst her shrieks. Ye dare not
Ask me for mercy now.

Sav. Yet he is noble!
Let him not die a felon's death.

Rie. Again,

[ocr errors]

Ye weary me. No more of this. Colonna,
Thy son loves my fair daughter. 'Tis an union,
However my young Claudia might have graced
A monarch's side, that augurs hopefully-
Bliss to the wedded pair, and peace to Rome,
And it shall be accomplished.
And now
A fair good-morrow. (Exit all but Savelli, Colonna, and Ursini.)

Sav. Hath stern destiny
Clothed him in this man's shape, that in a breath
He deals out death and marriage ? Ursini!
Colonna! be


Col. I'll follow him!
Tyrant! usurper! base-born churl! to deem
That son of mine

Urs. Submit, as I have done,
For vengeance.

From our grief and shame shall spring
A second retribution.
The fatal moment
Of our disgrace is nigh. Ere evening close,
I'll seek thee at thy palace. Seem to yield,
And victory is sure.

Col. I'll take thy counsel.



- Anonymous
Vanoc. Now Tribune :-
Valens. Health to Vanoc.
Van. Speak your business.

Val. I come not as a herald, but a friend;
And I rejoice that Didius chose out me
To greet a prince in my esteem the foremost.

Van. So much for words—now to your purpose, Tribune.

Val. Sent by o’r new lieutenant, who in Rome,
And since from me has heard of your renown,
I come to offer peace: to reconcile
Past enmities ; to strike perpetual league
With Vanoc; whom our emperor invites
To terms of friendship; strictest bonds of union.

Van. We must not hold a friendship with the Roman
Val. Why must you not ?
Van. Virtue forbids it.

Val. Once
You thought our friendship was your greatest glory.

Van. I thought you honest— I have been deceivedWould


deceive me twice? No, Tribune; no. You sought for war

--maintain it as you may. Val. Believe me, prince, your vehemence of spirit, Prone ever to extremes, betrays your judgment. Would you once coolly reason on our conduct

Van. Oh, I have scanned it thoroughly-night and day
I think it over, and I think it base :
Most infamous ! let who will judge—but Romans.
Did not my wife, did not my menial servant,
Both conspire
Against my crown, against my fame, my life?
Did they not levy war and wage rebellion ?
And when I did assert my right and power
As king and husband, when I would chastise
Two most abandoned wretches—who but Romans
Opposed my justice and maintained their crimes ?

Val. At first the Romans did not interpose,
But grieved to see their best. allies at variance..
Indeed, when you turned justice into rigor,
And even that rigor was pursued with fury,
We undertook to mediate for the queen,
And hoped to moderate-

Van. To moderate!
What would you moderate-my indignation ?
The just resentment of a virtuous mind ?
To mediate for the queen!-You undertook !-
Wherein concerned it you ?-But as you love
To exercise your insolence! Are you
To arbitrate my wrongs ?–Must I ask leave ?
Must I be taught, to govern my own household?
Am I then void of reason and of justice ?
When in my family offences, rise,
Shall strangers, saucy intermeddlers, say,
Thus far, and thus you are allowed to punish ?
When I submit to such indignities;
When I am tamed to that degree of slavery—
Make me a citizen, a senator of Rome.
To watch, to live upon the smile of Claudius ;
And sell my country with my wife for bread.
Val. Prince, you

insult upon this day's success..
You may provoke too far—but I am.cool-
I give your answer scope.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »