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(U The Too Foscari was composed at Ravenna,' between when the cause of that hatred (the supposed murder of his the lith of June and the 10th of July, 1821, and published father and uncles), and when the atrocious maxims of Italian with Sardanapalus in the following December. “The Ve revenge, and that habitual contempt of all the milder feel utan story," writes Lord Byron to Mr. Murray,“ is strictly ings are taken into consideration which constituted the Aistarical. I am much mortified that Gifford don't take to glory of a Venetian patriot, we may conceive how such a my new dramas. To be sure, they are as opposite to the principle might be not only avowed, but exulted in, by a English drama as one thing can be to another; but I have Venetian who regarded the house of Foscari as, at once, # Lotion that, if understood, they will, in time, find favour the enemies of his family and his country. Heber. though not on the stage with the reader. The simplicity The best English account of the incidents on which this
plot is intentional, and the avoidance of rant also, as play is founded, is in the second volume of the Reverend also the compression of the speeches in the more severe Mr. Smedley's Sketches of Venetian History: situations. What I seek to show in the Foscaris' is the “ The reign of Francesco Foscari had now been prolonged uppressed passions, rather than the rant of the present day. to the unusual period of thirty-four years, and these year For that matter
were marked by almost continual warfare; during which Nay, if thou'lt mouth,
however, the courage, the firmness, and the sagacity of the I'll rant as well as thou
illustrious Doge had won four rich provinces for his country
and increased ber glory not less than her dominion. Ardent would not be difficult, as I think I have shown in 1 enterprising, and ambitious of the glory of conquest, it wa younger productions-not dramatic ones, to be sure."
not without much opposition that Foscari had obtained the "The disadvantage, and, in truth, absurdity, of sacri dogeship; and he soon discovered that the throne whicl being higher objects to a formal adherence to the unities he had coveted with so great earnestness was far fron
see ante, p. 430) is strikingly displayed in this drama. The | being a seat of repose. Accordingly, at the peace of Fer whole interest bere turns upon the Younger Foscari having rara, which in 1433 succeeded a calamitous war, foreseein returned from banishment, in defiance of the law and its the approach of fresh and still greater troubles, and weariel consequences, from an unconquerable longing after his own by the factions which ascribed all disasters to the Prince country. Now, the only way to bave made this sentiment he tendered his abdication to the senate, and was refused palatable, the practicable foundation of stupendous suffer. A like offer was renewed by him, when nine years' furthe jazs, would have been, to have presented him to the au experience of sovereignty had confirmed his former estimat dience, wearing out his heart in exile, and forming his re of its cares; and the Council, on this second occasion, mue solation to return, at a distance from his country, or hover more from adherence to existing institutions than from an ing, in excruciating suspense, within sight of its borders. attachment to the person of the Doge, accompanied thei We might then have caught some glimpse of the nature of negative with the exaction of an oath that he would retail als motives, and of so extraordinary a character. But as his burdensome dignity for life. Too early, alas! was h tals would have been contrary to one of the unities, we first to be taught that life, on such conditions, was the heavies meet with him led from the Question, and afterwards taken of curses! Three out of his four sons were already dead back to it in the Ducal Palace, or clinging to the dungeon to Giacopo, the survivor, he looked for the continuation Falls of his native city, and expiring from his dread of his name and the support of his declining age; and, from tha leaving them; and therefore feel more wonder than sym. youth's intermarriage with the illustrious house of Con pathy, wben we are told, that these agonising consequences tarini, and the popular joy with wbich his nuptials wer bave resulted, not from guilt or disaster, but merely from celebrated, the Doge drew favourable auspices or futur the intensity of his love for his country."-Jeffrey.
happiness. Four years, however, had scarcely elapse "The character of Loredano is well conceived and truly from the conclusion of that well-omened marriage, whe tage. The deep and settled principle of hatred which a series of calamities began, from which death alone was t animates him, and which impels him to the commission of relieve either the son or his yet more wretched father. I be most atrocious cruelties, may seem, at first, unnatural 1445, Giacopo Foscari was denounced to the Ten, as hay and overstrained. But not only is it historically true ; but, ing received presents from foreign potentates, and especiall MS." Begun June the 12th, completed July the 9th, Ravenna,
from Filippo-Maria Visconti. The offence, according t
the law, was one of the most heinour which a noble coul That it was imagined in Venice is probable." Galt.-P. E. commit. Even if Giacopo were guiltless of infringing tha
d of bis Jacopo, the out of his
Extinct, you may say this.—Let's in to council. A few brief minutes for his tortured limbs;
Bar. Yet pause-the number of our colleagues is not He was o'erwrought by the Question yesterday, Complete yet; two are wanting ere we can And may die under it if now repeated.
Proceed. Lor. Well!
Lor. And the chief judge, the Doge? Bar. I yield not to you in love of justice, Bar.
Nombe Or hate of the ambitious Foscari,
With more than Roman fortitude, is ever
First at the board in this unhappy process
Bar. Will nothing move you ? Bar. Perhaps without committing any.
Feels ke, think you! But be avow'd the letter to the Duke
Bar. He shows it not. Of Milan, and his sufferings half atone for
I have mark'd that—the wreteli Such weakness.
Bar. But yesterday, I hear, on his return
To the ducal chambers, as he pass'd the threshold, Bar.
You, Loredano, The old man fainted. Pursue hereditary hate too far,
It begins to work, then! Lor. How far?
Bar. The work is half your own,
And should be all mine Lor.
When they are My father and my uncle are no more.
law, it was not easy to establish innocence before a Ve.! life itself at length appeared to be scarcely more than an netian tribunal. Under the eyes of his own father, com adequate sacrifice. Preyed upon by this fever of the beart, pelled to preside at the unnatural examination, a confession after six years' unavailing suit for a remission of panish was extorted from the prisoner, on the rack; and, from ment, in the summer of 1456 he addressed a letter to the the lips of that father, he received the sentence which ba Duke of Milan, imploring his good offices with the senate. nished bim for life to Napoli di Romania. On his passage, That letter, purposely left open in a place obvious to the severe illness delayed him at Trieste ; and, at the especial spies by whom, even in his exile, he was surrounded, and prayer of the Doge, a less remote district was assigned for afterwards intrusted to an equally treacherous band for his punishment; he was permitted to reside at Treviso, and delivery to Sforza, was conveyed, as the writer intended, te his wife was allowed to participate his exile.
the Council of Ten ; and the result, which equally full " It was in the commencement of the winter of 1450, his expectation, was a hasty summons to Venice to answer while Giacopo Foscari rested, in comparative tranquillity, for the heavy crime of soliciting foreign intercession with within the bounds to which he was restricted, that an as. his native government. sassination occurred in the streets of Venice, Hermolao “For a third time, Francesco Foscari listened to the as Donato, a Chief of the Ten, was murdered on his return cusation of his son ; for the first time he heard him opet from a sitting of that council, at his own door, by un. avow the charge of his accusers, and calmly state that known hands. The magnitude of the offence and the vio offence, such as it was, had been committed designedly w lation of the high dignity of the Ten demanded a victim; aforethought, with the sole object of detection, in ords and the coadjutors of the slain magistrate caught with that he might be brought back, even as a malefactor, eager grasp at the slightest clew which suspicion could af. Venice. This prompt and voluntary declaration, howeve ford. A domestic in the service of Giacopo Foscari had was not sufficient to decide the nice hesitation of his jnde been seen in Venice on the evening of the murder, and on Guilt, they said, might be too easily admitted as well the following morning, when met in a boat off Mestre by a too pertinaciously denied; and the same process therefon Chief of the Ten, and asked, "What news!' he had answered by which, at other times, confession was wrested from the by reporting the assassination, several bours before it was hardened criminal might now compel 8 too facile self-ac generally known. It might seem that such frankness of it. cuser to retract his acknowledgment. The father apli self disproved all participation in the crime; for the author looked on while his son was raised on the accursed cords of it was not likely thus unseasonably and prematurely to less than thirty times, in order that, under his agony, the disclose its committal. But the Ten thought differently, might be induced to utter a lying declaration of innocence and matters which to others bore conviction of innocence, But this cruelty was exercised in vain; and, when putar to them savoured strongly of guilt. The servant was ar gave way, the sufferer was carried to the apartments a rested, examined, and barbarously tortured; but even the the Doge, torn, bleeding, senseless, and dislocated, but firs eightieth application of the strappado failed to elicit one in his original purpose. Nor bad his persecutors relars syllable which might justify condemnation. That Giacopo I in theirs, they renewed his sentence of exile, and added Foscari had experienced the severity of the Council's judg that its first year should be passed in prison. Before le ment, and that its jealous watchfulness was daily impos, embarked, one interview was permitted with his family ing some new restraint upon his father's authority, power. The Doge, as Sanato, perhaps unconscious of the pathos a fully operated to convince the Ten that they must them his simplicity, has narrated, was an aged and decrepit ban selves in return be objects of his deadly enmity. Who else, who walked with the support of a crutch, and when they said, could be more likely to arm the band of an as came into the chamber, he spake with great firmness, s sassin against a Chief of the Ten, than one whom the Ten that it might seem it was not bis son whom be was ad have visited with punishment? On this unjust and unsur dressing, but it was his son-his only son. “Go, Giacono, ported surmise, the young Foscari was recalled from Tre was his reply, when prayed for the last time to salia viso, placed on the rack which bis servant had just vacated, mercy; Go, Giacopo, submit to the will of your country, tortured again in his father's presence, and not absolved and seek nothing farther.' This effort of self-restraint si even after be resolutely persisted in denial unto the end. beyond the powers, not of the old man's endaring spirit
4 The wrongs, however, which Giacopo Foscari endured but of his exhausted frame; and when he retired, he swooned had by no means chilled the passionate love with which he in the arms of his attendants. Giacopo reacbed his Cat continued to regard his ungrateful country. He was now dian prison, and was shortly afterwards released by death. excluded from all communication with his family, torn from “Francesco Foscari, far less happy in his survival, conthe wife of his affections, debarred from the society of his tinued to live on, but it was in sorrow and feebleness. children, bopeless of again embracing those parents who which prevented attention to the duties of his high oftice : had already far outstripped the natural term of human be remained secluded in his cbamber, never went abroad, existence; and to his imagination, for ever centering itself and absented himself even from the sittings of the counci apon the single desire of return, life presented no other ob- No practical inconvenience could result from this want of ject deserving pursuit; till, for the attainment of this wish, activity in the chief magistrate; for the constitution sati
which preventeuded in his ebam
sittings of the
Bar. I have read their epitaph, which says they died
Lor. When the Doge declared that he
Bar. A wretched one.
What should they be who make
Bar. But did the Doge make you so ?
Bar. But you will move by law?
By all the laws
which he would leave us.
They are such in this
The wealthy practice of our highest nobles),
It is written thus.
You see the number is complete. Follow me.
[Exit LOREDANO. Bar. (solus.) Follow thee! I have follow'd long (2)
dently provided against any accidental suspension of his from the debate, sworn to keep that exclusion secret, and personal functions, and his place in council, and on state | yet compelled to assent to the final decree in the discussion
casions, was supplied by an authorised deputy. Some of wbich he had not been allowed to participate. The Indulgence, moreover, might be thought due to the extreme council sat during eight days and nearly as many nights; Age and domestic griefs of Foscari; since they appeared to and, at the close of their protracted meetings, a committee promise that any favour which might be granted would be was deputed to request the abdication of the Doge. The old taimed but for a short period. But yet farther trials were man received them with surprise, but with composure, and In stort. Giacopo Loredano, who in 1467 was appointed | replied that he had sworn not to abdicate, and therefore 14 of the Chiefs of the Ten, belonged to a family between must maintain his faith. It was not possible that he could which and that of Foscari an hereditary fead had long resign; but if it appeared fit to their wisdom that he existed. His uncle Pietro, after gaining bigh distinction in should cease to be Doge, they had it in their power to letite berice, as Admiral of Venice, on his return to the make a proposal to that effect to the Great Council. It tapital, headed the political faction which opposed the was far, however, from the intention of the Ten to subject write projects of the Doge ; divided applause with him themselves to the chances of debate in that larger body; a kis eloquence in the councils; and so far extended bis and, assuming to their own magistracy a prerogative not Mitaeace as frequently to obtain majorities in their divi. attributed to it by the constitution, they discharged Foscari Nons, in an evil moment of impatience, Foscari once from his oath, declared his office vacant, assigned to him publicly avowed in the senate, that so long as Pietro Lore a pension of two thousund ducats, and enjoined him to dano lived he should never feel himself really to be Doge. quit the palace within three days, on pain of confiscation Føt long afterwards, the Admiral, engaged as Provveditore of all his property. Loredano, to whom the right belonged, with one of the armies opposed to Filippo-Maria, died sud according to the weekly routine of office, enjoyed the bar. Sealy at a military banquet given during a short suspension barous satisfaction of presenting this decree with his own farins; and the evil-omened words of Foscari were con hand. Who are you, Signor?' inquired the Doge of an. Tiected with his decease. It was remarked, also, that his other Chief of the Ten who accompanied him, and whose brother Marco Loredano, one of the Avvogadori, died, in a person he did not immediately recognise. I am a son of Homewhat similar manner, while engaged in instituting a Marco Memmo.' Ahyour father,' replied Foscari, is legal process against a son-in-law of the Doge, for pecula my friend.' Then declaring that he yielded willing obeLion upon the state. The foul rumours partially excited dience to the most excellent Council of Ten, and laying aside by these untoward coincidences, for they appear in truth to the ducal bonnet and robes, be surrendered his ring of of. have been no more, met with little acceptation, and were fice, which was broken in his presence. On the morrow, rejected or forgotten except by a single bosom. Giacopo, when he prepared to leave the palace, it was suggested to the son of one, the nephew of the other, deceased Loredano, him that he should retire by a private staircase, and thus Fate full credit to the accusation, inscribed on his father's avoid the concourse assembled in the court-yard below. Tomb at Santa Elena that he died by poison, bound himself With calm dignity be refused the proposition: he would by a solemn vow to the most deadly and unrelenting pursuit descend, he said, by no other than the self-same steps by revenge, and fulfilled that vow to the uttermost.
which he had mounted thirty years before. Accordingly, During the lifetime of Pietro Loredano, Foscari, willing supported by his brother, he slowly traversed the Giant's 10 terminate the feud by a domestic alliance, had tendered Stairs, and, at their foot, leaning on his staff and turning the band of his daughter to one of his rival's sons, The round to the palace, he accompanied his last look to it with Fouth saw his proffered bride, openly expressed dislike of these parting words, My services established me within aer person, and rejected her with marked discourtesy ; so your wals ; it is the malice of my enemies wbich tears me that, in the quarrel thus heightened, Foscari might now from them! conceive himself to be the most injured party. Not such "It was to the oligarchy alone that Foscari was obnoxi. was the impression of Giacopo Loredano: year after year ogs; by the populace he had always been beloved, and me grimly awaited the season most fitted for his unbending strange indeed would it have been had he now failed to ex. parpose ; and it arrived at length when he found himself in cite their sympathy. But even the regrets of the people of authority among the Ten. Relying upon the ascendency Venice were fettered by their tyrants; and whatever pity belonging to that high station, he hazarded a proposal for they might secretly continue to cherish for their wronged the deposition of the aged Doge, which was at first, how. and humiliated prince, all expression of it was silenced by ever, received with coldness; for those who had twice be a peremptory decree of the Council, forbidding any mention fore refused a voluntary abdication shrank from the strange of his name, and annexiog death as a penalty to disobe. contradiction of now demanding one on compulsion. A dience. On the fifth day after Foscari's deposition, Pascale Junta was required to assist in their deliberations, and Malipieri was elected Doge. The dethroned prince beard among the assessors elected by the Great Council, in com the announcement of his successor by the bell of the camplete ignorance of the purpose for which they were needed, I panile, suppressed his agitation, but ruptured a blood-veswas Marco Foscari, a Procuratore of St. Mark, and brother sel in the exertion, and died in a few hours."-Vol. ü, of the Doge himself. The 'Ten perceived that to reject his p. 93.-L.E.
instance might excite suspicion, while to procure his ap (1) “ Veneno sublatus." The tomb is in the church of parent approbation would give a show of impartiality to Santa Elena.-L.E. eir process: his nomination, therefore, was accepted, (2) "Loredano is accompanied, upon all emergencies, by
was removed to a separate apartment, excluded a senator called Barbarigoa sort of confidant or chorus