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Pier. I passed this very moment by thy doors, Whilst I have blood or fortune fit to serve thee : And found them guarded by a troop of villains : Command my heart! thou art every way its masThe sons of public rapine were destroying. They told me, by the sentence of the law, Jaf. No, there's a secret pride in bravely dying. They had commission to seize all thy fortune :
Pier. Rats die in holes and corners; dogs run Nay, more, Priuli's cruel hand had signed it.
mad: Here stood a ruffian with a horrid face,
Man knows a braver remedy for sorrowLording it o'er a pile of massy plate,
Revenge, the attribute of gods; they stamped it Tumbled into a heap for public sale;
With their great image on our natures. Die! There was another, making villainous jests Consider well the cause, that calls upon thee : At thy undoing : he had taken possession And, if thou art base enough, die then. RememOf all thy ancient, most domestic, ornaments,
ber, Rich hangings intermixed and wrought with gold; Thy Belvidera suffers; Belvidera! The very bed, which on thy wedding-night Die-damn first-What! be decently interred Received thee to the arms of Belvidera,
In a church-yard, and mingle thy brave dust The scene of all thy joys, was violated
With stinking rogues, that rot in winding-sheets, By the coarse hands of filthy dungeon villains, Surfeit-slain fools, the common dung of the soil ! And thrown amongst the common lumber.
Jaf. Oh! Jaf. Now thank heaven
Pier. Well said, out with it, swear a little Pier. Thank heaven! for what?
Jaf. Swear! by sea and air; by earth, by heaJaf. That I am not worth a ducat.
ven and hell, Pier. Curse thy dull stars, and the worse fate I will revenge my Belvidera's tears. of Venice,
Hark thee, my friend-Priuli-isma senator.
Prer. Shoot him.
Pier. I'll tell thee;
I take my evening's walk of meditation; Shining through tears, like April suns in showers, There we two will meet, and talk of precious That labour to o'ercome the cloud that loads Mischief
Jaf. Farewell. Whilst two young virgins, on whose arms she Pier. At twelve. leaned,
Jaf. At any hour; my plagues Kindly looked up, and at her grief grew sad, Will keep me waking.
[Erit Pierre. As if they catched the sorrows, that fell from her; Tell me why, good Heaven, Even the lewd rabble, that were gathered round Thou madest me what I am, with all the spirit, To see the sight, stood mute, when they beheld Aspiring thoughts, and elegant desires, her,
That fill the happiest man? Ah, rather, why Governed their roaring throats, and grumbled Didst thou not for me sordid as my fate, pity;
Base-minded, dull, and fit to carry burthens? I could have hugged the greasy rogues: they Why have I sense to know the curse, that's on pleased me.
Bel. Lead me, lead me, my virgins, But, when I think what Belvidera feels, To that kind voice. My lord, my love, iny refuge! The bitterness her tender spirit tastes of, Happy my eyes, when they behold thy face ! I own myself a coward: bear my weakness : My heavy heart will leave its doleful beating If, throwing thus my arms about thy neck, At sight of thee, and bound with sprightly joys. I play the boy, and blubber in thy bosom. Oh smile! as when our loves were in the spring, Oh! I shall drown thee with my sorrows. And cheer my fainting soul. Pier. Burn,
Jaf. As when our loves First burn and level Venice to thy ruin ! Were in the spring ! Has then our fortune changWhat! starve, like beggars' brats, in frosty wea- ed ? ther,
Art thou not Belvidera, still the same, Under a hedge, and whine ourselves to death! Kind, good, and tender, as my arms first found Thou, or thy cause, shall never want assistance, thee?
If thou art altered, where shall I have harbour? | Endure the bitter gripes of smarting poverty? Where ease my loaded heart? Oh! where com- When banished by our miseries abroad plain?
(As suddenly we shall be), to seek out Bel. Does this appear like change, or love de- In some far climate, where our names are caying,
strangers, When thus I throw myself into thy bosom, For charitable succour; wilt thou then, With all the resolution of strong truth! When in a bed of straw we shrink together, Beats not my heart, as 'twould alarum thine And the bleak winds shall whistle round our To a new charge of bliss ?-I joy more in thee, heads; Than did thy mother, when she hugged thee first, Wilt thou then talk thus to me? Wilt thou then And blessed the Gods for all her travail past. Hush my cares thus, and shelter me with love? Jaf. Can there in woman be such glorious Bel. Oh! I will love thee, even in madness faith?
love thee; Sute all ill stories of thy sex are false !
Though my distracted senses should forsake me, Oh wonian! lovely woman! Nature made thee I'd find some intervals, when my poor heart To temper man: we had been brutes without Should 'swage itself, and be let loose to thine.
Though the bare earth be all our resting-place, Angels are painted fair to look like
you : Its roots our food, some clist our habitation, There's in you all, that we believe of heaven; I'll make this arm a pillow for thy head; Amazing brightness, purity and truth,
And, as thou sighing liest, and swelled with Eternal joy, and everlasting love.
sorrow, Bel. If love be treasure, we'll be wondrous Creep to thy bosom, pour the balm of love
Into thy soul, and kiss thee to thy rest ; I have so much, my heart will surely break with it: Then praise our God, and watch thee till the Vows can't express it. When I would declare
morning. How great my joys, I'm dumb with the big Jaf. Hear this, you heavens ! and wonder how thought;
you made her: I swell, and sigh, and labour with my longing. Reign, reign, ye monarchs, that divide the world; 0! lead me to some desert wide and wild, Busy rebellion ne'er will let you know Barren as our misfortunes, where my soul Tranquillity and happiness like mine! May have its vent, where I may tell aloud Like gaudy ships the obsequious billows fall, To the high heavens, and every list’ning planet, And rise again, to lift you in your pride ; With what a boundless stock my bosom's fraught; They wait but for a storm, and then devour you; Where I may throw my eager arms about thee, I, in my private bark already wrecked, Give loose to love, with kisses kindling joy; Like a poor merchant driven to unknown land, And let off all the fire, that's in my heart. That had by chance packed up his choicest trea
Jaf. Oh, Belvidera! doubly I am a beggar : Undone by fortune, and in debt to thee. In one dear casket, and saved only that; Want, worldly want, that hungry meagre fiend, Since I must wander further on the shore, Is at my heels, and chaces me in view.
Thus hug my little, but my precious store, Canst thou bear cold and hunger? Can these limbs, Resolved to scorn and trust my fate no more. Framed for the tender offices of love,
Aqui. I loathe and scorn that fool thou mean’st;
as much Enter PIERRE and AQUILINA,
Or more than thou canst; but the beast has gold, Aqui. By all thy wrongs, thou art dearer to That makes him necessary; power too, my arms
To qualify my character, and poise me Than all the wealth of Venice. Prithee stay, Equal with peevish virtue, that beholds And let us love to-night.
My liberty with envy. In their hearts Pier. No: there's fool,
They're loose as I am; but an ugly power There's fool about thee. When a woman sells Sits in their faces, and frights pleasure from them. Her flesh to fools, her beauty's lost to me; Pier. Much good may it do you, madam, with They leave a taint, a sully-where they have
your senator. passed;
Aqui. My senator! Why, canst thou think that There's such a baneful quality about them,
wretch E’en spoils complexions with their nauseousness; E'er filled thy Aquilina's arms with pleasure ? They infect all they touch: I cannot think Thinkest thou, because I sometimes give him Of tasting any thing a fool has palled.
To foil himself at what he is unfit for;
For every step I tread, methinks some fiend Because I force myself to endure and suffer him, Knocks at my breast, and bids me not be quiet. Thinkest thou, I love him? No; by all the joys I've heard bow desperate wretches, like myself, Thou ever gavest me, his presence is my penance. Have wandered out at this dead time of night, The worst thing an old man cau be is a lover, To meet the foe of mankind in his walk. A mere memento mori to poor woman.
Sure I'm so cursed, that, though of Heaven forI never lay by his decrepid side,
saken, But all that night I pondered on my grave.
No minister of darkness cares to tempt me. Pier. Would he were well sent thither! Hell, hell! why sleepest thou? Aqui. That's my wish too:
Enter PIERRE. For then, my Pierre, I might have cause, with pleasure,
Pier, Sure I've staid too long : To play the hypocrite. Oh! how I could weep The clock has struck, and I may lose my proseOver the dying dotard, and kiss hiin too,
Jaf. A dog, that comes to howl
ques (For he has already made me heir to treasures
tion? Would make me out-act a real widow's whining) Pier. A friend to dogs, for they are honest How could I frame my face to fit my mourning! creatures, With wringing hands attend hiin to his grave; And ne'er betray their masters : never fawn Fall swooning on his hearse; take mad possession On any, that they love not. Well met, friend : Even of the dismal vault, where he lay buried; Jaffer? There, like the Ephesian matron, dwell, till thou, Jaf: The same. O Pierre, thou art come in My loveliest soldier, coinest to my deliverance;
season; Then, throwing up my veil, with open arms I was just going to pray. And laughing eyes, run to new-dawning joy. Pier. Ah, that's inechanic! Pier. No more : I've friends to meet me here Priests make a trade on't, and yet starve by it, to-night,
too. And must be private. As you prize my friend- No praying; it spoils business, and time's precious. ship,
Where's Belvidera?Keep up your coxcomb; let him not pry, nor lis- Jaf. For a day or two ten,
I've lodged her privately, till I see farther, Nor frisk about the house, as I have seen him, What fortune will do for me. Prithee, friend, Like a tame mumping squirrel with a bell on; If thou wouldst have me fit to hear good counsel, Curs will be abroad to bite him, if you do. Speak not of BelvideraAqui. What, friends to meet ! Nayn't I be of Pier. Not of her! your council?
Jaf. Oh, no! Pier. How! a woman ask questions out of bed! Pier. Not name her? May be I wish her well. Go to your senator; ask him what passes
Jaf. Whom well? Amongst his brethren; he'll hide nothing from Pier. Thy wife; thy lovely Belvidera. you :
I hope a man may wish his friend's wife well, Rut pump not me for politics. No more! And no harm done. Give order, that whoever in my name
Jaf. You are merry, Pierre. Comes here, receive admittance. So good-night.
Pier. I am so : Aqui. Must we ne'er meet again? embrace no Thou shalt smile too, and Belviderå smile : more?
We'll all rejoice. Here's something to buy pins; Is love so soon and utterly forgotten?
Marriage is chargeable. [Gives him a purse. Pier. As you henceforward treat your fool, Jaf. I but half wished I'll think on't.
To see the devil, and he's here already. Well! Aqui. Cursed be all fools—I die, if he for- What must this buy? Rebellion, murder, treason?
I must be damned for this. And how to keep him, Heaven or hell instruct Pier. When last we parted, we had no qualıns me !
But entertained each other's thoughts like men, SCENE II.- The Rialto.
Whose souls were well acquainted. Is the world
Reformed, since our last meeting? What new Enter JAFFIER.
miracles Jaf. I am here; and thus, the shades of night Have happened? Has Priuli's heart relented? around me,
Can he be honest? I look as if all hell were in my heart,
Jaf. Kind Heaven, let heavy curses And I in hell. Nay surely 'tis so with me! Gall his old age; crainps, aches, rack bis bones,
And bitterest disquiet wring his heart !
Openly act a deed, the world shall gaze
Pier. For liberty, my friend.
Thou shalt be freed from base Priuli's tyranny, Pier. Nay, couldst thou not
And thy sequestered fortunes healed again : As well, my friend, have stretched the curse to I shall be free from those opprobrious wrongs, all
That press me now, and bend my spirit downThe senate round, as to one single villain?
ward; Jaf. But curses stick not: Could I kill with All Venice free, and every growing merit cursing,
Succeed to its just right: fools shall be pulled By Heaven I know not thirty heads in Venice From wisdom's seat: those baleful unclean birds, Should not be blasted. Senators should rot, Those lazy owls, who, perched near fortune's Like dogs on dunghills: But their wives and top, daughters
Sit only watchful with their heavy wings Die of their own diseases. Oh! for a curse To cuff down new-fledged virtues, that would To kill with!
rise Pier. Daggers, daggers are much better. To nobler heights, and make the grove harmo Jaf. Ha!
nious. Pier. Daggers.
Jaf. What can I do? Juf. But where are they?
Pier. Canst thou not kill a senator? Pier. Oh! a thousand
Jaf. Were there one wise or honest, I could May be disposed of, in honest hands, in Venice.
kill him, Jaf. Thou talkest in clouds.
For herding with that nest of fools and knaves. Pier. But yet a heart, half wronged
By all my wrongs, thou talkest as if revenge As thine has been, would find the meaning, Jaf- Were to be had; and the brave story warms me. fier.
Pier. Swear, then!
By love and friendship, dearer than my life, To a nobler purpose, I would be that friend; No
power or death shall make me false to thee. But thou hast better friends; friends, whom thy Pier. Ilere we embrace, and I'll unlock my wrongs
heart. Have made thy friends; friends, worthy to be A council is held hard by, where the destruction
Of this great empire is hatching: there I'll lead I'll trust thee with a secret : There are spirits
thee. This hour at work. But, as thou art a man, : But be a man! for thou'rt to mix with men, Whom I have picked and chosen from the world, Fit to disturb the peace of all the world, Swear that thou wilt be true to what I utter; And rule it when 'tis wildest. And when I've told thee that, which only gods, Jaf. I give thee thanks And men like gods, are privy to, then swear, For this kind warning. Yes, I'll be a man; No chance or change shall wrest it from thy bo- And charge thee, Pierre, whene'er thou seest my
fears Jaf. When thou wouldst bind me, is there need Betray me less, to rip this heart of mine of oaths ?
Out of my breast, and shew it for a coward's. For thou’rt so near my heart, that thou may'st see Come, let's be gone! for, from this hour, I chase Its bottom, sound its strength and firmness to thee. All little thoughts, all tender human follies, Is coward, fool, or villain in my face?
Out of my bosom: Vengeance shall have room : If I seem none of these, I dare believe
Revenge! Thou wouldst not use me in a little cause,
Pier. And liberty ! For I am fit for honour's toughest task,
Jaf: Revenge! revenge!
[Exeunt. Nor ever yet found fooling was my province; And for a villanous inglorious enterprize,
SCENE III.-Changes to Aquilina's House, I know thy heart so well, I dare lay mine
the Greek Courtezan. Before thee, set it to what point thou wilt.
Ren. Why was my choice ainbition? the worst For it is founded on the noblest basis ;
ground Our liberties, our natural inheritance.
A wretch can build on! It is, indeed, at distance, There's no religion, no hypocrisy in it;
A goodly prospect, tempting to the view; We'll do the business, and ne'er fast and pray for it; | The height delights us, and the mountain top
Looks beautiful, because 'tis nigh to heaven; United thus, we are the mighty' engine
Eli. Would it were tumbling!
Bed. Nay, it shall down; this night we seal its
ruin. Enter SPINOSA.
Enter PIERRE, Spin. Renault, good-morrow, for by this time I think the scale of night has turned the balance, Oh, Pierre ! thou art welcome. And weighs up morning. Has the clock struck Come to any breast! for, by its hopes, thou look’st twelve?
Lovelily dreadful, and the fate of Venice Ren. Yes; Clocks will go as they are set : Seems on thy sword already. Oh, my Mars !
The poets, that first feigned the god of war, Irregular man's ne'er constant, never certain : Sure prophesied of thee. I have spent at least three precious hours of dark- Pier. Friend, was not Brutus
(I mean that Brutus, who, in open senate, In waiting dull attendance ; 'tis the curse Stabbed the first Cæsar that usurped the world) Of diligent virtue to be mixed, like mine, A gallant man? With giddy tempers, souls but half resolved. Ren. Yes, and Catiline too; Spin. Hell seize that soul ainongst us it can Though story wrong his fame : for he conspired frighten.
the reeling glory of his country:
Bed. And our's as much above it, Why are we not together?
As, Renault, thou art superior to Cethegus,
Or Pierre tu Cassius.
Pier. Then to what we aim at.
When do we start? or must we talk for ever? You are an Englishman : when treason's hatch- Bed. No, Pierre, the deed's near birth; fate ing,
seems to have set One might have thought you'd not have been be- The business up, and given it to our care; hindhand.
I hope there's not a heart or hand amongst us, In what whore's lap have you been lolling? But is firm and ready. Give but an Englishman his whore and ease, Ill. All. Beef, and a sea-coal fire, he's yours for ever. We will die with Bedamar, Eli. Frenchman, you are saucy.
Bed. O men! Ren. How !
Matchless! as will your glory be hereafter : Enter BEDAMAR the Ambassador, Theodore, If lost, disgraceful ruin.
The game is for a matchless prize, if won,
The public stock's a beggar; one Venetian
Trusis not another. Look into their stores Is this a time for quarrels? Thieves and rogues Of general safety : einpty magazines, Fall out and brawl: should men of your ligh A tattered fleet, a murmuring unpaid army, calling,
Bankrupt nobility, a harassed commonalty, Men separated by the choice of Providence A factious, giddy, and divided senate, From the gross heap of mankind, and set here Is all the strength of Venice : let's destroy it; In this assembly as in one great jewel,
Let's fill their magazines with arms to awe them; To adorn the bravest purpose it e'er smiled on; Man out their fleet, and make their trade mainShould you, like boys, wrangle for trifles?
tain it; Ren. Boys !
Let loose the murmuring army on their masters, Bed. Renault, thy hand.
To pay themselves with plunder; lop their noRen. I thought I'd given my heart
bles Long since to every man, that mingles here; To the base roots, whence most of them first But grieve to find it trusted with such tempers,
sprung; That can't forgive my froward age its weakness. Enslate the rout, whom smarting will make Bed. Eliot, thou once had'st virtue. I have humble;
Turn out their droning senate, and possess Thy stubborn temper bend with godlike good-That seat of empire, which our souls were framed ness,
for. Not half thus courted : 'Tis thy nation's glory Pier. Ten thousand men are armed at your nort, To hug the foe, that offers brave alliance. Commanded all by leaders fit to guide One more embrace, my friends--we'll all em- A battle for the freedom of the world :