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ACT V.

How bears the Doge

This last calamity?
Offi.

With desperate firmness.
In presence of another he says little,
But I perceive his lips move now and then;
And once or twice I heard him, from the adjoining
Apartment, mutter forth the words—" My son !"
Scarce audibly. I must proceed. [Exit Officer.
This stroke

Bar.
Will move all Venice in his favour.
Lor.

We must be speedy: let us call together
The delegates appointed to convey
The council's resolution.

Bar.

I protest

Against it at this moment.

Lor. As you please I'll take their voices on it ne'ertheless, And see whose most may sway them, yours or mine. [Exeunt BARBARIGO and LOREDANO.

SCENE I.

The DOGE's Apartment.

Right!

Doge.
What command ?
Offi. A melancholy one-to call the attendance

Of

The DOGE and Attendunts.

Att. My lord, the deputation is in waiting; But add, that if another hour would better Accord with your will, they will make it theirs. Doge. To me all hours are like. Let them approach. [Exit Attendant. An Officer. Prince! I have done your bidding.

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Doge.

Accept it as 't is given-proceed.
Chief of the Ten.

With a selected giunta from the senate
Of twenty-five of the best born patricians,
Having deliberated on the state

"The Ten,"

Of the republic, and the o'erwhelming cares
Which, at this moment, doubly must oppress
Your years, so long devoted to your country,
Have judged it fitting, with all reverence,
Now to solicit from your wisdom (which
Upon reflection must accord in this),
The resignation of the ducal ring,
Which you have worn so long and venerably:
And to prove that they are not ungrateful, nor
Cold to your years and services, they add
An appanage of twenty hundred golden
Ducats, to make retirement not less splendid
Than should become a sovereign's retreat.
Doge. Did I hear rightly?
Chief of the Ten.

Twenty-four

Need I say again?
Doge. No. Have you done?
Chief of the Ten.
I have spoken.
Hours are accorded you to give an answer.
Doge. I shall not need so many seconds.
Chief of the Ten.
Will now retire.

We

Doge. Stay ! Four and twenty hours Will alter nothing which I have to say. Chief of the Ten. Doge. My wish to abdicate, it was refused me: And not alone refused, but ye exacted An oath from me that I would never more Renew this instance. I have sworn to die In full exertion of the functions, which My country call'd me here to exercise, According to my honour and my conscienceI cannot break my oath.

Chief of the Ten.

Reduce us not

To the alternative of a decree,
Instead of your compliance.

But for my dignity- I hold it of

Speak!

When I twice before reiterated

Doge.

Providence

Prolongs my days to prove and chasten me;
But ye have no right to reproach my length

Of days, since every hour has been the coun

try's.

I am ready to lay down my life for her,

As I have laid down dearer things than life:

The whole republic; when the general will
Is manifest, then you shall all be answer'd. 1
Chief of the Ten. We grieve for such an answer;
but it cannot

Avail you aught.
Doge.

I can submit to all things,
But nothing will advance; no, not a moment.
What you decree decree.
Chief of the Ten.

With this, then, must we
Return to those who sent us?
Doge.

You have heard me. Chief of the Ten. With all due reverence we retire. [Exeunt the Deputation, &c. Enter an Attendant.

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Att.

The noble dame Marina craves an audience. Doge. My time is hers.

Enter MARINA.

Mar. My lord, if I intrude Perhaps you fain would be alone?

Doge.

My lord,

Alone !

Alone, come all the world around me, I
Am now and evermore. But we will bear it.

Mar. We will; and for the sake of those who are, Endeavour Oh, my husband!

Doge.

Give it way;

I cannot comfort thee.

Mar.
He might have lived.
So form'd for gentle privacy of life,
So loving, so beloved; the native of
Another land, and who so blest and blessing
As my poor Foscari ? Nothing was wanting
Unto his happiness and mine save not
To be Venetian.

Doge.

Or a prince's son.

Mar. Yes; all things which conduce to other men's Imperfect happiness or high ambition, By some strange destiny, to him proved deadly. The country and the people whom he loved, The prince of whom he was the elder born, And

Soon may be a prince no longer.

Doge. Mar. How? Doge. They have taken my son from me, and now At my too long worn diadem and ring. [aim

Let them resume the gewgaws?

Oh, the tyrants!

1

Mur.

In such an hour too!

Doge. 'Tis the fittest time; An hour ago I should have felt it.

Mar. And Will you not now resent it? Oh, for vengeance! But he, who, had he been enough protected, Might have repaid protection in this moment, Cannot assist his father.

Doge. Nor should do so Against his country, had he a thousand lives Instead of that

["Then was thy cup, old man, full to the brim.
But thou wert yet alive; and there was one,
The soul and spring of all that enmity,

Who would not leave thee; fastening on thy flank,
Hungering and thirsting, still unsatisfied;
One of a name illustrious as thine own!
One of the Ten! one of the Invisible Three!
'T was Loredano. When the whelps were gone,
He would dislodge the Lion from his den;

Mar. They tortured from him. May be pure patriotism. I am a woman: To me my husband and my children were Country and home. I loved him—how I loved him! I have seen him pass through such an ordeal as The old martyrs would have shrunk from: he is gone, And I, who would have given my blood for him, Have nought to give but tears! But could I compass The retribution of his wrongs!-Well, well; I have sons, who shall be men.

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This

Our bridal bed is now his bier. Doge. And he is in his shroud ! Mar.

Come, come, old man! [Exeunt the DOGE and MARINA.

Enter BARBARIGO and LOREDANO. Bar. (to an Attendant). Where is the Doge? Att. This instant retired hence With the illustrious lady his son's widow. Lor. Where? Att. To the chamber where the body lies. Bar. Let us return, then. Lor.

You forget, you cannot. We have the implicit order of the Giunta To await their coming here, and join them in Their office: they 'll be here soon after us.

Bar. And will they press their answer on the Doge ? Lor. 'Twas his own wish that all should be done promptly.

He answer'd quickly, and must so be answer'd ; His dignity is look'd to, his estate

Cared for what would he more?

And, leading on the pack he long had led,
The miserable pack that ever howl'd
Against fallen Greatness, moved that Foscari
Be Doge no longer; urging his great age;
Calling the loneliness of grief, neglect
Of duty, sullenness against the laws.

I am most willing to retire,' said he:
But I have sworn, and cannot of myself.
Do with me as ye please.'"- ROGERS.]

Bar.

Die in his robes: He could not have lived long; but I have done My best to save his honours, and opposed This proposition to the last, though vainly. Why would the general vote compel me hither?

Lor. 'Twas fit that some one of such different thoughts From ours should be a witness, lest false tongues Should whisper that a harsh majority

Dreaded to have its acts beheld by others.

Bar. And not less, I must needs think, for the sake Of humbling me for my vain opposition. You are ingenious, Loredano, in Your modes of vengeance, nay, poetical, A very Ovid in the art of hating; 'Tis thus (although a secondary object, Yet hate has microscopic eyes), to you I owe, by way of foil to the more zealous,

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Lor. Your answer, Francis Foscari ! Doge. If I could have foreseen that my old age Was prejudicial to the state, the chief Of the republic never would have shown Himself so far ungrateful, as to place His own high dignity before his country; But this life having been so many years Not useless to that country, I would fain Have consecrated my last moments to her. But the decree being render'd, I obey. 1

Chief of the Ten. If you would have the three days named extended,

2 [

["The act is passed — I will obey it." — - MS.] "He was deposed, He, who had reign'd so long and gloriously; His ducal bonnet taken from his brow, His robes stript off, his seal and signet-ring Broken before him. But now nothing moved

We willingly will lengthen them to eight,
As sign of our esteem.

Doge.
Not eight hours, signor,
Nor even cight minutes - There 's the ducal ring,
[Taking off his ring and cap.
And there the ducal diadem. And so
The Adriatic 's free to wed another.

Chief of the Ten. Yet go not forth so quickly.
Doge.
I am old, sir,

And even to move but slowly must begin
To move betimes. Methinks I see amongst you
A face I know not-Senator! your name,
You, by your garb, Chief of the Forty!

Mem.

I am the son of Marco Memmio. 2

Doge.

Ah! Your father was my friend. But sons and fathers!— What, ho! my servants there! Atten.

My prince! Doge. No prince There are the princes of the prince! [Pointing to the Ten's Deputation.]— Prepare To part from hence upon the instant. Chief of the Ten.

Why

So rashly? 't will give scandal.
Doge.

The body of his son. Doge.

My daughter!

Answer that; [To the Ten. It is your province. - Sirs, bestir yourselves : [To the Servants. There is one burthen which I beg you bear With care, although 't is past all farther harmBut I will look to that myself.

Bar.

Doge. Elsewhere. Mar.

Signor,

And call Marina,

He means

And every where.

Enter MARINA.

Get thee ready; we must mourn

Doge. True; but in freedom, Without these jealous spies upon the great. Signors, you may depart: what would you more? We are going: do you fear that we shall bear The palace with us? Its old walls, ten times As old as I am, and I'm very old,

Have served you, so have I, and I and they Could tell a tale; but I invoke them not To fall upon you! else they would, as erst

The meekness of his soul. All things alike! Among the six that came with the decree, Foscari saw one he knew not, and inquired His name. I am the son of Marco Memmo,' Ah! he replied, thy father was my friend !'" - ROGERS.]

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Mar. Here's my arm! [forth. Doge. And here my staff: thus propp'd will I go Chief of the Ten. It must not be― the people will perceive it. [know it, Doge. The people! There's no people, you well Else you dare not deal thus by them or me. There is a populace, perhaps, whose looks [you May shame you; but they dare not groan nor curse Save with their hearts and eyes.

Chief of the Ten.

You speak in passion,

Doge. You have reason. I have spoken much
More than my wont: it is a foible which
Was not of mine, but more excuses you,
Inasmuch as it shows that I approach
A dotage which may justify this deed
Of yours, although the law does not, nor will.
Farewell, sirs!

Bar.
You shall not depart without
An escort fitting past and present rank.

[The death of the elder Foscari took place not at the palace, but in his own house; not immediately on his descent from the Giants' Stairs, but five days afterwards. "En entendant," says M. de Sismondi, "le son des cloches, qui sennaient en actions de graces pour l'élection de son successeur, il mourut subitement d'une hémorrhagie causée par une veine qui s'éclata dans sa poitrine."—" Before I was sixteen years

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Doge. I take yours, Loredano, from the hand Most fit for such an hour as this.

Lor.

Why so?
Doge. 'Tis said that our Venetian crystal has
Such pure antipathy to poisons as

To burst, if aught of venom touches it.
You bore this goblet, and it is not broken.
Lor. Well, sir!

Doge.
Then it is false, or you are true.
For my own part, I credit neither; 'tis
An idle legend.

Mar.
You talk wildly, and
Had better now be seated, nor as yet

Depart. Ah! now you look as look'd my husband! Bar. He sinks!-support him!— quick—a chair -support him!

Doge. The bell tolls on!-let's hence - my brain's on fire!

Bar. I do beseech you, lean upon us!
Doge.

No!

A sovereign should die standing. My poor boy!
Off with your arms! That bell!

[The DOGE drops down and dies. 1
My God! My God !

Mar.

of age," says Lord Byron, "I was witness to a melancholy instance of the same effect of mixed passions upon a young person; who, however, did not die in consequence, at that time, but fell a victim, some years afterwards, to a seizure of the same kind, arising from causes intimately connected with agitation of mind." See post, Don Juan, c. iv. st. lix.]

Bar. (to Lor.). Behold! your work's completed!
Chief of the Ten.
Is there then

No aid? Call in assistance !
Att.

'Tis all over.

Chief of the Ten. If it be so, at least his obsequies Shall be such as befits his name and nation, His rank and his devotion to the duties

Of the realm, while his age permitted him To do himself and them full justice.

Say, shall it not be so?

Bar.

Brethren,

He has not had The misery to die a subject where

He reign'd: then let his funeral rites be princely. 1 Chief of the Ten. We are agreed, then?

Yes.

All, except Lor., answer, Chief of the Ten. Heaven's peace be with him! Mar. Signors, your pardon: this is mockery. Juggle no more with that poor remnant, which, A moment since, while yet it had a soul, (A soul by whom you have increased your empire, And made your power as proud as was his glory,) You banish'd from his palace, and tore down From his high place, with such relentless coldness; And now, when he can neither know these honours, Nor would accept them if he could, you, signors, Purpose with idle and superfluous pomp, To make a pageant over what you trampled. A princely funeral will be your reproach, And not his honour.

Lady, we revoke not

Chief of the Ten.

Our purposes so readily.
Mar.
I know it,
As far as touches torturing the living.

I thought the dead had been beyond even you,

Though (some, no doubt) consign'd to powers which

may

Resemble that you exercise on earth.

Leave him to me; you would have done so for
His dregs of life, which you have kindly shorten'd:
It is my last of duties, and may prove
A dreary comfort in my desolation.

[By a decree of the Council, the trappings of supreme power of which the Doge had divested himself while living, were restored to him when dead; and he was interred, with ducal magnificence, in the church of the Minorites, the new Doge attending as a mourner. — See DARU.]

The Venetians appear to have had a particular turn for breaking the hearts of their Doges. The following is another instance of the kind in the Doge Marco Barbarigo: he was succeeded by his brother Agostino Barbarigo, whose chief merit is here mentioned. "Le doge, blessé de trouver constamment un contradicteur et un censeur si amer dans son frère, lui dit un jour en plein conseil: Messire Augustin, vous faites tout votre possible pour håter ma mort; vous vous flattez de me succéder; mais, si les autres vous connaissent aussi-bien que je vous connais, ils n'auront garde de vous élire.' Là-dessus il se leva, ému de colère, rentra dans son appartement, et mourut quelques jours après. Ce frère, contre lequel il s'était emporté, fut précisément le successeur qu'on lui donna C'était un mérite dont on aimait à tenir compte; surtout à un parent, de s'être mis en opposition avec le chef de la république."-DARU, Hist. de Venise, vol. ii. p. 533.

3" L'ha pagata." An historical fact. See Hist. de Venise, par P. Daru, t. ii. p. 411.-[Here the original MS. ends. The two lines which follow were added by Mr. Gifford. In the margin of the MS. Lord Byron has written, "If the last line should appear obscure to those who do not recollect the historical fact, mentioned in the first act, of Loredano's in. scription in his book of Doge Foscari, debtor for the deaths of my father and uncle,' you may add the following lines to the conclusion of the last act :

Chief of the Ten. For what has he repaid thee?

Grief is fantastical, and loves the dead,
And the apparel of the grave.
Chief of the Ten.
Do you

Pretend still to this office?
Mar.
I do, signor.
Though his possessions have been all consumed
In the state's service, I have still my dowry,
Which shall be consecrated to his rites,
And those of

[She stops with agitation.
Chief of the Ten. Best retain it for your children.
Mur. Ay, they are fatherless, I thank you.
Chief of the Ten.

We

Cannot comply with your request. His relics
Shall be exposed with wonted pomp, and follow'd
Unto their home by the new Doge, not clad
As Doge, but simply as a senator.

Mar. I have heard of murderers, who have interr'd
Their victims; but ne'er heard, until this hour,
Of so much splendour in hypocrisy

O'er those they slew. 2 I've heard of widows' tears-
Alas! I have shed some- always thanks to you!
I've heard of heirs in sables-you have left none
To the deceased, so you would act the part
Of such. Well, sirs, your will be done! as one day
I trust, Heaven's will be done too!
Chief of the Ten.

Know you, lady,
To whom ye speak, and perils of such speech?
Mar. I know the former better than yourselves;
The latter- like yourselves; and can face both.
Wish you more funerals ?

Bar. Heed not her rash words; Her circumstances must excuse her bearing. Chief of the Ten. We will not note them down. Bar. (turning to Lor. who is writing upon his tablets). What art thou writing, With such an earnest brow, upon thy tablets? Lor. (pointing to the Doge's body). That he has paid me ! 3 Chief of the Ten. What debt did he owe you? Lor. A long and just one; Nature's debt and mine. 4 [Curtain fulls.

For my father's on's and own!

Lor.

And father's brother's death by his Ask Gifford about this."-E.]

[Considered as poems, we confess that "Sardanapalus" and "The Two Foscari" appear to us to be rather heavy, verbose, and inelegant-deficient in the passion and energy which belongs to Lord Byron's other writings-and still more in the richness of imagery, the originality of thought, and the sweetness of versification for which he used to be distinguished. They are for the most part solemn, prolix, and ostentatious-lengthened out by large preparations for catastrophes that never arrive, and tantalising us with slight specimens and glimpses of a higher interest scattered thinly up and down many weary pages of pompous declamation. Along with the concentrated pathos and homestruck sentiments of his former poetry, the noble author seems also we cannot imagine why -to have discarded the spirited and melodious versification in which they were embodied, and to have formed to himself a measure equally remote from the spring and vigour of his former compositions, and from the softness and inflexibility of the ancient masters of the drama. There are some sweet lines, and many of great weight and energy; but the general march of the verse is cumbrous and unmusical. His lines do not vibrate like polished lances, at once strong and light, in the hands of his persons, but are wielded like clumsy batons in a bloodless affray. Instead of the graceful familiarity and idiomatical melodies of Shakspeare, it is apt, too, to fall into clumsy prose, in its approaches to the casy and colloquial style; and, in the loftier passages, is occasionally deformed by low and common images that harmonise but ill with the general solemnity of the diction.—JEFFREY.]

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