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That sate on her seven hills, and from her throne
Of beauty ruled the world !

Once again, I swear,
The eternal city shall be free; her sons
Shall walk with princes. Ere to-morrow's dawn,

The tyrants

First Cit. Hush! Who passes there? [Citizens retire

back. Alb. A foe, By his proud bearing. Seize him.

Ric. As I deem,
'Tis Angelo Colonna.

Touch him not,
I would hold parley with him. Good Alberti,
The hour is nigh. Away !

[Exit Alberti. Enter Angelo COLONNA. Now, Sir!

[To Angelo Ang. What be ye, That thus in stern and watchful mystery Cluster beneath the veil of night, and start To hear a stranger's foot ?

Rie. Romans.

Ang. And wherefore Meet ye, my countrymen ?

Rie. For freedom.

Ang. Surely
Thou art Cola di Rienzi ?

Rie. Ay, that voice-
The traitor voice.

Ang. I knew thee by the words.
Who, save thyself, in this bad age, when man
Lies prostrate like yon temple, dared conjoin
The sounds of Rome and freedom ?

Rie. I shall teach
The world to blend those words, as in the days
Before the Cæsars. Thou shalt be the first
To hail the union. I have seen thee hang
On tales of the world's mistress ; thy young hand
Hath clinched thy maiden sword.

Unsheath it now,
Now, at thy country's call! What, dost thou pause ?
Is the flame quenched ? Dost falter? Hence with thee,
Pass on ! pass whilst thou may !

Ang. Hear me, Rienzi.
Even now my spirit leaps up at the thought
Of those brave storied days—a treasury
Of matchless visions, bright and glorified,
Paling the dim lights of this darkling world
With the golden blaze of heaven; but


gone, As clouds of yesterday, as last night's dream.

Rie. A dream! Dost see yon phalanx, still and stern ?
An hundred leaders, each with such a band,
Wait with suppressed impatience till they hear
The great bell of the Capitol, to spring
At once on their proud foes. Join them.

Ang. My father!
Rie. Already he hath quitted Rome.
Ang. My kinsmen!
Rie. We are too strong for contest.

Thou shalt see
No other change within our peaceful streets
Than that of slaves to freemen. Such a change
As is the silent step from night to day,
From darkness into light. We talk too long.

Ang. Yet reason with them ;-warn them.

Rie. And their answer-
Will be the jail, the gibbet, or the axe

The keen retort of power. Why, I have reasoned ;
And, but that I am held, amongst your great ones,
Half madman and half fool, these bones of mine
Had whitened on yon wall. Warn them! They met
At every step dark warnings.

Friend met friend, nor smiled,
Till the last footfall of the tyrant's steed
Had died upon the ear.

Sir, the boys,
The unfledged boys, march at their mother's hist,
Beside their grandsires ; even the girls of Rome, -
The gentle and the delicate, array
Their lovers in this cause. I have one yonder,
Claudia Rienzi,—thou hast seen the maid-
A silly trembler, a slight fragile toy,
As ever nursed a dove, or reared a flower-
Yet she, even she, is pledged-

Ang. To whom? to whom ?

Rie. To liberty.
A king's son
Might kneel in vain for Claudia. None shall wed her,
Save a true champion of the cause.

Ang. I'll join ye: [Gives his hand to Rienzi, How shall I swear ?

Rie. [To the People.] Friends, comrades, countrymen ! I bring unhoped-for aid. Young Angelo Craves To join your

band. All the Citizens shout-He's welcome! [Coming for

ward, Ang. Hear me swear By Rome-by freedom-by Ricnzi! Comrades,

How have


deliverer? consul Dictator, emperor ?

Rie. No: Those names have been so often steeped in blood, So shamed by folly, so profaned by sin, The sound seems ominous,—I'll none of them. Call me the Tribune of the people; there My honouring duty lies. [The Citizens shout, Hail to our Tribune ! - The bell

sounds thrice; shouts again; and a military band

is heard playing a march without. Hark—the bell, the bell ! That, to the city and the plain, Proclaims the glorious tale Of Rome reborn, and Freedom. See, the clouds Are swept away, and the moon's boat of light Sails in the clear blue sky, and million stars Look out on us, and smile. [The gate of the Capitol opens, and Alberti and Soldiers

join the People, and lay the keys at Rienzi's feet. Hark! that


Hath broke our bondage. Look, without a stroke
The Capitol is won—the gates unfold-
The keys are at our feet. Alberti, friend,
How shall I


the service ? Citizens ! First to possess the palace citadelThe famous strength of Rome; then to sweep on, Triumphant, through her streets. [As Rienzi and the People are entering the Capitol, he

pauses. Oh, glorious wreck Of gods and Cæsars ! thou shalt reign again,

Queen of the world; and I-come on, come on,
My people!
[Citizens. Live Rienzi—live our Tribune !

[Exeunt through the gates, into the Capitol.

[blocks in formation]

Rienzi rules as Tribune, until the People again revolt. They sacrifice

RIENZI, who dies the last of the Tribunes.

RIENZI, Soldiers and Citizens. Citizens. Down with the tyrant! Down with Rienzi !

Ricnzi. Who calls upon Rienzi ? Citizens, What seek ye of your Tribune ? .... why come ye? 2d Cit. For vengeance, perjured tyrant! for thy blood

for liberty !
Rie. For liberty! Go seek
The mountain-tops, where with the crashing pines
The north wind revels;
Go where the eagle or the sea-snake dwell;
Midst mighty elements, where nature is,
And man is not, and ye may see afar,
Impalpable as a rainbow on the clouds,
The glorious vision, Liberty! I dreamed
Of such a goddess once; dreamed that yon slaves
Were Romans, such as ruled the world, and I
Their Tribune; vain and idle dream ! Take back
The symbol and the power.

What seek ye more?
1st Cit. Tyrant! thy life!
Rie. Come on.

Why pause ye, cowards ? I am unarmed. My breast is bare. Why pause ye? Enter CLAUDIA ; she rushes forward to Rienzi.— The Peo

ple surround him. Rie. Drag her from my neck,

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