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You like it? It is yours.


You do not mean it.

gone from


I am not a Spaniard, To say that it is yours and not to mean it. I have at Itri a whole armory Full of such weapons. When you paint the

portrait Of Barbarossa, it will be of use. You have not been rewarded as you should

be For painting the Gonzaga. Throw this bauble Into the scale, and make the balance equal. Till then suspend it in your studio; You artists like such trifles.

Fra Bastian, I am growing tired of Rome, The old dead city, with the old dead peo

ple; Priests everywhere, like shadows on a wall, And morning, noon, and night the ceaseless

sound Of convent bells. I must be

here; Though Ovid somewhere says that Rome is

worthy To be the dwelling-place of all the Gods, I must be gone from here. To-morrow morn

ing I start for Itri, and go thence by sea To join the Emperor, who is making war Upon the Algerines; perhaps to sink Some Turkish galleys, and bring back in

chains The famous corsair. Thus would I avenge The beautiful Gonzaga.

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you shall

Dear Countess, If loyalty to friendship be a claim Upon your confidence, then I may claim it.

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You must not go; First

sup with me. My seneschal, Giovan Andrea dal Borgo a San Sepolcro, I like to give the whole sonorous name, It sounds so like a verse of the Æneid, Has brought me eels fresh from the Lake of

Fondi, And Lucrine oysters cradled in their shells : These, with red Fondi wine, the Cæcuban That Horace speaks of, under a hundred keys Kept safe, until the heir of Posthumus Shall stain the pavement with it, make a feast Fit for Lucullus, or Fra Bastian even; So we will go to supper, and be merry.

JULIA. Then sit again, and listen unto things That nearer are to me than life itself.


In all things I am happy to obey you,
And happiest then when you command me



Beware! Remember that Bolsena's eels
And Vernage wine once killed a Pope of



JULIA. Laying aside all useless rhetoric, That is superfluous between us two, I come at once unto the point, and say, You know my outward life, my rank and for

tune; Countess of Fondi, Duchess of Trajetto, A widow rich and flattered, for whose hand In marriage princes ask, and ask it only To be rejected. All the world can offer Lies at my feet. If I remind you of it, It is not in the way of idle boasting, But only to the better understanding Of what comes after,

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God hath given you also Beauty and intellect; and the signal grace To lead a spotless life amid temptations That others yield to.



Do not go yet.



The night is far advanced ; I fear to stay too late, and weary you With these discussions.

But the inward life, That you know not; 't is known but to my

self, And is to me a mystery and a pain. A soul disquieted, and ill at ease,

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That is a task impossible, until
You tune your heart-strings to a higher key
Than earthly melodies.


In part I do so; for to put a stop
To idle tongues, what men might say of me
If I lived all alone here in my palace,
And not from a vocation that I feel
For the monastic life, I now am living
With Sister Caterina at the convent
Of Santa Chiara, and I come here only
On certain days, for my affairs, or visits
Of ceremony, or to be with friends.
For I confess, to live among my friends
Is Paradise to me; my Purgatory
Is living among people I dislike.
And so I pass my life in these two worlds,
This palace and the convent.

How shall I do it? Point out to me the way of this perfection, And I will follow you; for you have made My soul enamored with it, and I cannot Rest satisfied until I find it out. But lead me privately, so that the world Hear not my steps; I would not give occa

sion For talk among the people.



It was then The fear of man, and not the love of God, That led you to this step. Why will you

not Give all your heart to God?

Now at last I understand you fully. Then, what need Is there for us to beat about the bush? I know what you desire of me.

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Yes, in suits at law; Not in religion. With the human soul There is no compromise. By faith alone Can man be justified.



Hush, dear Valdesso ; That is a heresy. Do not, I pray you, Proclaim it from the house-top, but preserve

it As something precious, hidden in your heart, As I, who half believe and tremble at it.

You would be free From the vexatious thoughts that come and go Through your imagination, and would have me Point out some royal road and lady-like Which you may walk in, and not wound your

feet; You would attain to the divine perfection, And yet not turn your back upon the world; You would possess humility within, But not reveal it in your outward actions; You would have patience, but without the

rude Occasions that require its exercise; You would despise the world, but in such

fashion The world should not despise you in return; Would clothe the soul with all the Chris


I must proclaim the truth.


tian graces,

Enthusiast! Why must you? You imperil both yourself And friends by your imprudence. Pray, be

patient. You have occasion now to show that virtue Which you lay stress upon. Let us return To our lost pathway. Show me by what

steps I shall walk in it.

[Convent bells are heard.

Yet not despoil the body of its gauds;
Would feed the soul with spiritual food,
Yet not deprive the body of its feasts ;
Would seem angelic in the sight of God,
Yet not too saint-like in the eyes of men ;
In short, would lead a holy Christian life
In such a way that even your nearest friend
Would not detect therein one circumstance
To show a change from what it was before.
Have I divined your secret ?



Hark! the convent bells Are ringing; it is midnight; I must leave

you. And yet I linger. Pardon me, dear Count

ess, Since you to-night have made me your con

fessor, If I so far may venture, I will warn you Upon one point.

You have drawn The portrait of my inner self as truly As the most skilful painter ever painted A human face.



This warrants me in saying You think you can win heaven by compro

mise, And not by verdict.

What is it? Speak, I pray you, For I have no concealments in my conduct; All is as open as the light of day. What is it you would warn me of ?

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