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O, fear not What may be done, but what is left undone: The act seals all.

Enter Olihpio and Mareio.

Is it accomplished!


Did you not call 1





I ask if all is over!


We dare not kill an old and sleeping man;
His thin grey hair, his stern and reverent brow,
His veined hands crossed on his heaving breast,
And the calm innocent sleep in which he lay,
Quelled me. Indeed, indeed, I cannot do it.


But I was bolder; for I chid Olimpio,
And bade him bear his wrongs to his own grave,
And leave me the reward. And now my knife
Touched the loose wrinkled throat, when the old man
Stirred in his sleep, and said, " God ! hear, 0 hear,
A father's curse 1 What, art thou not our father!"
And then he laughed. I knew it was the ghost
Of my dead father speaking through his lips,
And could not kill him.


Miserable slaves! Where, if ye dare not kill a sleeping man, Found ye the boldness to return to me With such a deed undone? Base palterers! Cowards and traitors! Why, the very conscience Which ye would sell for gold and for revenge Is an equivocation: it sleeps over A thousand daily acts disgracing men; And when a deed, where mercy insults Heaven— Why do I talk I

[Snatching a dagger from one of them, and raiting it. Hadst thou a tongue to say, She murdered her own father, I must do it! But never dream ye shall outlive him long!

Stop, for God's sake!


I will go back and kill him.


Give me the weapon, we must do thy will.


Take it! Depart! Return!

[Exeunt Olimpio and Maiuio

How pale thou art!
We do but that which 'twere a deadly crime
To leave undone.

Would it were done!


Even whilst That doubt is passing through your mind, the

Is conscious of a change. Darkness and hell
Have swallowed up the vapour they sent forth
To blacken the sweet light of life. Hy breath
Comes, methinks, lighter, and the jellied blood
Runs freely through my veins. Hark!

Enter Olimpio and Jlariio.

He is—




We strangled him, that there might be no blood; And then we threw his heavy corpse i' the garden Under the balcony; 'twill seem it fell.

BEATRICE (giving them a bag of coin). Here take this gold, and hasten to your homes. And, Marzio, because thou wast only awed By that which made me tremble, wear thou this! [Clothrt him in a rieh mantle. It was the mantle which my grandfather Wore in his high prosperity, and men Envied his state: so may they envy thine. Thou wort a weapon in the hand of God To a just use. Live long and thrive I And, mark, If thou hast crimes, repent: this deed is none.

[A horn ii teundei.

LUCRETIA. Hark, 'tis the castle horn: my God I it sounds Like the last trump.


Some tedious guest is coming.


The drawbridge is let down ; there is a tramp
Of horses in the court! fly, hide yourselves!

[Exeunt Olxkpio and *?*""


Let us retire to counterfeit deep rest;

I scarcely need to counterfeit it now;

The spirit which doth reign within these limbs

Seems strangely undisturbed. I could even sleep

Fearless and calm: all ill is surely past,



Another Apartment in the Cattle.

Enter on one tide the Legate Savblla, introduced bu a Servant, and on the other Lucretia and Bern Asm.


Lady, my duty to his Holiness

Be my excuse that thus unseasonably

I break upon your rest. I must speak with

Count Cenci; doth he sleep!

Lucretia (in a hurried and confused manner,. I think he sleeps; Yet, wake him not, I pray, spare me awhile, He is a wicked and a wrathful man; Should he be roused out of his sleep to-night,

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Which is, I know, a hell of angry dreams,
It were not well; indeed it were not well.
Wait till day-break,—

(Aside.) 0,1 am deadly sick!


I grieve thus to distress you, hut the Count
Must answer charges of the gravest import,
And suddenly; such my commission is.

Lucretia (with increased agitation).
I dare not rouse him, I know none who dare;
Twere perilous ;—you might as safely waken
A serpent ; or a corpse in which some fiend
Were laid to sleep.


Lady, my moments here Are counted. I must rouse him from his sleep, Since none else dare.

Lucretia (aside).

0, terror! 0, despair!

(To Bernardo.) Bernardo, conduct you the Lord

Legate to

Your father's chamber. [Exeunt Savelia and

_ _ [bernardo.

Enter Beatrice.


Tis a messenger
Come to arrest the culprit who now stands
Before the throne of unappealable God.
Both Earth and Heaven, consenting arbiters,
Acquit our deed.


Oh, agony of fear! Would that he yet might live! Even now I

heard The legate's followers whisper as they passed They had a warrant for his instant death. AU was prepared by unforbidden means, Which we must pay so dearly, having done. Even now they search the tower, and find the

body; Now they suspect the truth ; now they consult, Before they come to tax us with the fact;

0 horrible, 'tis all discovered!


Mother, What is done wisely, is done well. Be bold As thou art just. Tis like a truant child, To fear that others know what thou hast done, Even from thine own strong consciousness, and thus Write on unsteady eyes and altered cheeks All thou wouldst hide. Be faithful to thyself, And fear no other witness but thy fear. For if, as cannot be, some circumstance Should rise in accusation, we can blind Suspicion with such cheap astonishment, Or overbear it with such guiltless pride, As murderers cannot feign. The deed is done, And what may follow now regards not me.

1 am as universal as the light;

Free as the earth-surrounding air; as firm
As the world's centre. Consequence, to me,
Is as the wind which strikes the solid rock,
But shakes it not.

[A cry within and tumult.


Murder! Murder! Murder!

Enter Bernardo and Savella.

Savella (to his followers). Go, search the castle round ; sound the alarm; Look to the gates, that none escape!


What now?


I know not what to say—my father's dead.


How, dead! he only sleeps; you mistake, brother.
His sleep is very calm, very like death;
'Tis wonderful how well a tyrant sleeps.
He is not dead?


Dead; murdered!

Lucretia (with extreme agitation).

Oh, no, no, He is not murdered, though he may be dead; I have alone the keys of those apartments.


Ha! Is it sol


My lord, I pray excuse us; We will retire ; my mother is not well; She seems quite overcome with this strange horror. [Exeunt Lucretia and Beatrice.


Can you suspect who may have murdered him!


I know not what to think.


Can you name any Who had an interest in his death!



I can name none who had not, and those most
Who most lament that such a deed is done;
My mother, and my sister, and myself.


'Tis strange! There were clear marks of violence.
I found the old man's body in the moonlight,
Hanging beneath the window of his chamber
Among the branches of a pine : he could not
Have fallen there, for all his limbs lay heaped
And effortless ; 'tis true there was no blood.—
Favour me, sir—it much imports your house
That all should be made clear—to tell the ladies
That I request their presence.

[ Exit Bernardo.

Enter Guards, bringing in Marzio.


We have one.


My lord, we found this ruffian and another
Lurking among the rocks ; there is no doubt
But that they are the murderers of Count Cenci:
Each had a bag of coin ; this fellow wore
A gold-in-woven robe, which, shining bright
Under the dark rocks to the glimmering moon,
Betrayed them to our notice: the other fell
Desperately fighting.


What does he confess!


He keeps firm silence; but these lines found on him May speak.


Their language is at least sincere.


"To The Lady Beatrice.

"That the atonement of what my nature sickens

to conjecture may soon arrive, I send thee, at thy

brother's desire, those who will speak and do

more than I dare write.

"Thy devoted servant,

« Obsino."

Enter Lucbetia, Beatrice, and Bernardo. Knowest thou this writing, lady!



Nor thou?

Lucretia (her conduct throughout the scene is

marked by extreme agitation). Where was it found! What is it 1 It should be Orsino's hand! It speaks of that strange horror Which never yet found utterance, but which

made Between that hapless child and her dead father A gulf of obscure hatred.


Is it so f Is it true, lady, that thy father did Such outrages as to awaken in thee Unfilial hate!


Not hate, 'twas more than hate; This is most true, yet wherefore question me!

There is a deed demanding question done;
Thou hast a secret which will answer not.


What sayest! My lord, your words are bold and rash.


I do arrest all present in the name

Of the Pope's Holiness. You must to Rome.


0, not to Rome! Indeed we are not guilty.


Guilty! Who dares talk of guilt! My lord,

I am more innocent of parricide

Than is a child born fatherless. Dear mother,

Your gentleness and patience are no shield

For this keen-judging world, this two-edged lie,

Which seems, but is not. What! will human laws,

Rather will ye who are their ministers,

Bar all access to retribution first,

And then, when Heaven doth interpose to do

What ye neglect, arming familiar things

To the redress of an unwonted crime,

Make ye the victims who demanded it

Culprits) 'Tis ye are culprits! That poor wretch

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It would have been A crime no less than his, if for one moment That fierce desire had faded in my heart. 'Tis true I did believe, and hope, and pray, Ay, I even knew—for God is wise and just. That some strange sudden death hung over him. 'Tis true that this did happen, and most true There was no other rest for me on earth, No other hope in Heaven ;—now what of this!


Strange thoughts beget strange deeds; and here are I judge thee not. [both:


And yet, if you arrest me,
You are the judge and executioner
Of that which is the life of life: the breath
Of accusation kills an innocent name,
And leaves for lame acquittal the poor life,
Which is a mask without it. Tis most false
That I am guilty of foul parricide;
Although I must rejoice, for justest cause,
That other hands have sent my father's soul
To ask the mercy he denied to me.
Now leave us free : stain not a noble house
With vague surmises of rejected crime;
Add to our sufferings and your own neglect
No heavier sum ; let them have been enough:
Leave us the wreck we have.


I dare not, lady. I pray that you prepare yourselves for Rome: There the Pope's further pleasure will be known.


0, not to Rome! 0, take us not to Rome!


Why not to Rome, dear mother! There, as here,
Our innocence is as an armed heel
To trample accusation. God is there,
As here, and with his shadow ever clothes
The innocent, the injured, and the weak;
And such are we. Cheer up, dear lady! lean
On me; collect your wandering thoughts. My lord,
As soon as you have taken some refreshment,
And had all such examinations made
Upon the spot, as may be necessary
To the full understanding of this matter,
We shall be ready. Mother, will you come 1


Ha! they will bind us to the rack, and wrest
Self-accusation from our agony!
Will Giacorao be there! Orsino? Marzio 1
All present; all confronted; all demanding
Each from the other's countenance the thing
Which is in every heart! 0, misery!
[ShefainU, and it

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An Apartment in Orsino's Palace,

Enter Orsino and Giacomo.


Do evil deeds thus quickly come to end!
0 that the vain remorse which must chastise
Crimes done, had but as loud a voice to warn,
As its keen sting is mortal to avenge!
0 that the hour when present had cast off
The mantle of its mystery, and shown
The ghastly form with which it now returns
When its scared game is roused, cheering the

Of conscience to their prey ! Alas, alas!
It was a wicked thought, a piteous deed,
To kill an old and hoary-headed father.


It has turned out unluckily, in truth.

GIACOMO. To violate the sacred doors of sleep; To cheat kind nature of the placid death Which she prepares for overwearied age; To drag from Heaven an unrepentant soul, Which might have quenched in reconciling prayers A life of burning crimes—

1 urged you to the deed.

You cannot say


0, had I never Found in thy smooth and ready countenance The mirror of my darkest thoughts ; hadst thou Never with hints and questions made me look Upon the monster of my thought, until It grew familiar to desire—


'Tis thus Men cast the blame of their unprosperous acts Upon the abettors of their own resolve; Or any thing but their weak, guilty selves. And yet, confess the truth, it is the peril In which you stand that gives you this pale

sickness Of penitence ; confess, 'tis fear disguised From its own shame that takes the mantle now Of thin remorse. What if we yet were safe 1


How can that be t Already Beatrice,
Lucretia, and the murderer, are in prison.
I doubt not officers are, whilst we speak,
Sent to arrest us.

I have all prepared
For instant flight. We can escape even now,
So we take fleet occasion by the hair.

Rather expire in tortures, as I may.
What! will you cast by self-accusing flight
Assured conviction upon Beatrice?
She who alone, in this unnatural work,
Stands like God's angel ministered upon
By Rends ; avenging such a nameless wrong
As turns black parricide to piety;
Whilst we for basest ends—I fear, Orsino,
While I consider all your words and looks,
Comparing them with your proposal now,
That you must be a villain. For what end
Could you engage in such a perilous crime,
Training me on with hints, and signs, and smiles,
Even to this gulf I Thou art no liar 1 No,
Thou art a lie! Traitor and murderer!
Coward and slave! But no—defend thyself;

[Drawing. Let the sword speak what the indignant tongue Disdains to brand thee with.


Put up your weapon. Is it the desperation of your fear Makes you thus rash and sudden with your

friend, Now ruined for your sake? If honest anger Have moved you, know, that what I just proposed Was but to try you. As for me, I think Thankless affection led me to this point, From which, if my firm temper could repent, I cannot now recede. Even whilst we speak, The ministers of justice wait below: They grant me these brief moments. Now, if you Have any word of melancholy comfort To speak to your pale wife, 'twere best to pass Out at the postern, and avoid them so.


Oh, generous friend! How canst thou pardon me! Would that my life could purchase thine!


That wish Now comes a day too late. Haste; fare thee well! Hear'st thou not steps along the corridor i

[Exit GlACOMO.

I'm sorry for it; bat the guards are waiting

At his own gate, and such was my contrivance

That I might rid me both of him and them.

I thought to act a solemn comedy

Upon the painted scene of this new world,

And to attain my own peculiar ends

By some such plot of mingled good and ill

As others weave ; but there arose a Power

Which grasped and snapped the threads of my

device, And turned it to a net of ruin—Ha!

[A shout it heard. Is that my name I hear proclaimed abroad! But I will pass, wrapt in a vile disguise; Rags on my back, and a false innocence Upon my face, through the misdeeming crowd, Which judges by what seems. 'Tis easy then, For a new name, and for a country new, And a new life, fashioned on old desires, To change the honours of abandoned Rome. And these must be the masks of that within, Which must remain unaltered.—Oh, I fear That what is past will never let me rest! Why, when none else is conscious, but myself, Of my misdeeds, should my own heart's contempt Trouble me! Have I not the power to fly My own reproaches I Shall I be the slave Of—what 1 A word! which those of this false world Employ against each other, not themselves; As men wear daggers not for self-offence. But if I am mistaken, where shall I Find the disguise to hide me from myself, As now I skulk from every other eye!



A Hall of Justice.

Camillo, Judges, etc.. areditcoveredseated;
Marzio is led in.


Accused, do you persist in your denial?

I ask you, are you innocent, or guilty!

I demand who were the participators

In your offence? Speak truth, and the whole truth.


My God! I did not kill him ; I know nothing;
Olimpio sold the robe to me from which
You would infer my guilt


Away with him!


Dare you, with lips yet white from the rack's kiss,
Speak false! Is it so soft a questioner,
That you would baudy lovers' talk with it,
Till it wind out your life and soul! Away!


Spare me! 0, spare! I will confess.

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MARZIO. I strangled him in his sleep.


Who urged you to it >.


His own son Giacomo, and the young prelate
Orsino sent me to Petrella; there
The ladies Beatrice and Lucretia
Tempted me with a thousand crowns, and I
And my companion forthwith murdered him.
Now let me die.


This sounds as bad as truth. Guards, there,
Lead forth the prisoners.

Enter Lucretia, Beatrice, and Giacomo, guarded. Look upon this man; When did you see him last I


We never saw him.


You know me too well, Lady Beatrice.


I know thee ! How 1 where! when!


You know 'twas I Whom you did urge with menaces and bribes To kill your father. When the thing was done, You clothed me in a robe of woven gold, And bade me thrive: how I have thriven, you see. You, my Lord Giacomo, Lady Lucretia, You know that what I speak is true.

[beatrice advances towards him ,- ke covert kit /ace, and shrinks back.

Oh, dart
The terrible resentment of those eyes
On the dread earth I Turn them away from me I
They wound: 'twas torture forced the truth. My

Having said this, let me be led to death.


Poor wretch, I pity thee: yet stay awhile.


Guards, lead him not away.


Cardinal Camillo, You have a good repute for gentleness And wisdom: can it be that you sit here To countenance a wicked farce like this! When some obscure and trembling slave is dragged From sufferings which might shake the sternest

heart, And bade to answer, not as he believes, But as those may suspect or do desire, Whose questions thence suggest their own reply: And that in peril of such hideous torments AsmercifulGodspareseventhedamned. Speak now The thing you surely know, which is, that you, If your fine frame were stretched upon that wheel, And you were told, " Confess that you did poison Your little nephew: that fair blue-eyed child Who was the load-star of your life;" and though All see, since his most swift and piteous death, That day and night, and heaven and carth,andtime,

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