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And all the things hoped for or done therein,
Are changed to you, through your exceeding grief,
Yet you would say, " I confess anything"—
And beg from your tormentors, like that slave,
The refuge of dishonourable death.
I pray thee, Cardinal, that thou assert
My innocence.

Camillo (much moved).

What shall we think, my lords! Shame on these tears! I thought the heart was frozen Which is their fountain. I would pledge my soul That -she is guiltless.

JUDGE.

Yet she must be tortured.

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CAMILLO.

1 would as soon have tortured mine own nephew If he now lived, he would be just her age; "is hair, too, was her colour, and his eyes Like hers in shape, but blue, and not so deep :) As that most perfect image of God's love That ever came sorrowing upon the earth. She is as pure as speechless infancy 1

JUDGE.

Well, be her purity on your head, my lord,
If you forbid the rack. His Holiness
Eojoined us to pursue this monstrous crime
By the severest forms of law ; nay, even
To Btretch a point against the criminals.
The prisoners stand accused of parricide,
Upon such evidence as justifies
Torture.

BEATRICE.

What evidence! This man's t

Even so.

BEATRICE (lO Marzio).

Come near. And who art thou, thus chosen forth
Out of the multitude of living men,
To kill the innocent!

MARZIO.

I am Marzio, Thy father's vassal.

BEATRICE.

Fix thine eyes on mine; Answer to what I ask.

[Turning to the Judga.

I prithee mark His countenance: unlike bold calumny, Which sometimes dares not speak the thing itlooks, He dares not look the thing he speaks, but bends His gaze on the blind earth.

( To Marzio.) What! wilt thou say That I did murder my own father!

MARZIO.

Oh!

Spare me! My brain swims round—Icannotspeak—

It was that horrid torture forced the truth.

Take me away! Let her not look on me!

1 am a guilty miserable wretch!

I have said all I know ; now, let mo die!

BEATRICE.

My lords, if by my nature I had been

So stem, as to have planned the crime alleged,

Which your suspicions dictate to this slave,

And the rack makes him utter, do you think

I should have left this two-edged instrument

Of my misdeed ; this man; this bloody knife,

With my own name engraven on the heft,

Lying unsheathed amid a world of foes,

For my own death I That with such horrible need

For deepest silence, I should have neglected

So trivial a precaution, as the making

His tomb the keeper of a secret written

On a thief's memory 1 What is his poor life!

What are a thousand lives! A parricide

Had trampled them like dust; and see, he lives!

[Turning to Habzio. And thou—

MARZIO.

Oh, spare me! Speak to me no more! That stern yet piteous look, those solemn tones, Wound worse than torture.

( To the Judges.) I have told it all; For pity's sake lead me away to death.

CAMILLO.

Guards, lead him nearer the lady Beatrice,
He shrinks from her regard like autumn's leaf
From the keen breath of the serenest north.

BEATRICE.

Oh, thou who tremblest on the giddy verge
Of life and death, pause ere thou answerest me;
So mayst thou answer God with less dismay:
What evil have we done thee! I, alas!
Have lived but on this earth a few sad years,
And so my lot was ordered, that a father
First turned the moments of awakening life
To drops, each poisoning youth's sweet hope; and

then
Stabbed with one blow my everlasting soul,
And my untainted fame ; and even that peace
Which sleeps within the core of the heart's heart.
But the wound was not mortal ; so my hate
Became the only worship I could lift
To our great Father, who in pity and love,
Armed thee, as thou dost say, to cut him off;
And thus his wrong becomes my accusation:
And art thou the accuser I If thou hopest
Mercy in heaven, show justice upon earth:
Worse than a bloody hand is a hard heart.
If thou hast done murders, made thy life's path
Over the trampled laws of God and man,
Rush not before thy Judge, and say: "My Maker,
I have done this and more ; for there was one
Who was most pure and innocent on earth;
And because she endured what never any,
Guilty or innocent, endured before;
Because her wrongs could not be told, nor thought;
Because thy hand at length did rescue her;
I with my words killed her and all her kin."
Think, I adjure you, what it is to slay
The reverence living in the minds of men
Towards our ancient house, and stainless fame!
Think what it is to strangle infant pity,
Cradled in the belief of guileless looks,
Till it become a crime to suffer. Think
What 'tis to blot with infamy and blood
All that which shows like innocence, and is,—
Hear me, great God 1 I swear, most innocent,—
So that the world lose all discrimination
Between the sly, fierce, wild regard of guilt,
And that which now compels thee to reply
To what I ask: Am I, or am I not
A parricide t

MARZIO.

Thou art not!

What is this?

MARZIO.

I here declare those whom I did accuse
Are innocent. 'Tis I alone am guilty.

JUDGE.

Drag him away to torments ; let them be
Subtle and long drawn out, to tear the folds
Of the heart's inmost cell. Unbind him not
Till he confess.

MARZIO.

Torture me as ye will: A keener pain has wrung a higher truth From my last breath. She is most innocent! Bloodhounds, not men, glut yourselves well with me! I will not give you that fine piece of nature To rend and ruin. [Exit Makzio, guarded.

CAHILLO.

What say ye now, my lords t

JUDGE.

Let tortures strain the truth till it be white
As snow thrice-sifted by the frozen wind.

CAHILLO.

Yet stained with blood.

Judge (to Beatrice).

Know you this paper, lady!

BEATRICE.

Entrap me not with questions. Who stands here
As my accuser! Ha 1 wilt thou be he,
Who art my judge? Accuser, witness, judge,
What, all in one? Here is Orsino's name;
Where is Orsino? Let his eye meet mine.
What means this scrawl? Alas! ye know not what,
And therefore on the chance that it may be
Some evil, will ye kill us?

Enter an Officer.
OFFICER.

Marzio's dead.

JUDGE.

What did he say J

OFFICER.

Nothing. As soon as we
Had bound him on the wheel, he smiled on us,
As one who baffles a deep adversary;
And holding his breath, died.

JUDGE.

There remains nothing But to apply the question to those prisoners, Who yet remain stubborn.

CAHILLO.

I overrule
Further proceedings, and in the behalf
Of these most innocent and noble persons
Will use my interest with the Holy Father.

JUDGE.

Let the Pope's pleasure then be done. Meanwhile
Conduct these culprits each to separate cells;
And be the engines ready: for this night,
If the Pope's resolution bo as grave,
Pious, and just as once, I'll wring the truth
Out of those nerves and sinews, groan by groan.

[Exeunt.

SCENE III.

The Cell nfa Prison.

Beatrice is discovered asleep on a couch.

Enter BKRif Ardo.

BERNARDO.

How gently slumber rests upon her face,

Like the last thoughts of some day sweetly spent,

Closing in night and dreams, and so prolonged.

After such torments as she bore last night,

How light and soft her breathing comes. Ah, me!

Methinks that I shall never sleep again.

But I must shake the heavenly dew of rest

From this sweet folded flower, thus—wake ; awake:

What, sister, canst thou sleep1

BEATRICE (awaking).

I was just dreaming That we were all in Paradise. Thou knowest This cell seems like a kind of Paradise After our father's presence.

BERNARDO.

Dear, dear sister, Would that thy dream were not a dream I O, God! How shall I tell?

BEATRICE.
What would'st thou tell, sweet brother!

BERNARDO.

Look not so calm and happy, or, even whilst
I stand considering what I have to say,
My heart will break.

BEATRICE.

See now, thou mak'st me weep: How very friendless thou wouldst be, dear child, If I were dead. Say what thou hast to say.

BERNARDO.

They have confessed; they could endure no more The tortures—

BEATRICE.

41a! What was there to confess! They must have told some weak and wicked lie To flatter their tormentors. Have they said That they were guilty? O white innocence, That thou shouldst wear the mask of guilt to hide Thine awful and serenest countenance From those who know thee not!

Enter Judos, with Lucrxtia and Glacomo, guarded. Ignoble hearts I For some brief spasms of pain, which are at least As mortal as the limbs through which they j Are centuries of high splendour laid in dust i And that eternal honour which should live Sunlike, above the reek of mortal fame, Changed to a mockery and a by-word i What! Will you give up these bodies to be dragged At horses' heels, so that our hair should sweep The footsteps of the vain and senseless crowd, Who, that they may make our calamity Their worship and their spectacle, will leave The churches and the theatres as void As their own hearts! Shall the light multitude Fling at their choice, curses or faded pity, Sad funeral flowers to deck a living corpse, Upon us as wc pass, to pass away,

K

And leave—what memory of our having been?

Infamy, blood, terror, despair! 0 thou,

Who wert a mother to the parentless,

Kill not thy child ! Let not her wrongs kill thee!

Brother, lie down with mc upon the rack,

And let ns each be silent as a corpse;

It soon will be as soft as any grave.

TU but the falsehood it can wring from fear

Makes the rack cruel.

GIACOXO.

They will tear the truth Even from thee at last, those cruel pains: For pity's sake say thou art guilty now.

LCCRETIA.

0, speak the truth! Lot us all quickly die; And after death, God is our judge, not they; He will have mercy on us.

BERNARDO.

If indeed
It can be true, say so, dear sister mine;
And then the Pope will surely pardon you,
And all be well.

JUDGE.
Confess, or I will warp
Your limbs with such keen tortures—

BEATRICE.

Tortures! Turn The rack henceforth into a spinning-wheel! Torture your dog, that he may tell when last He lapped the blood his master shed—(lot me! My pangs are of the mind, and of the heart, And of the soul; ay, of the inmost soul, Which weeps within tears as of burning gall To see, in this ill world where none are true, My kindred false to their deserted selves. And with considering all the wretched life Which I have lived, and its now wretched end; And the small justice shown by Heaven and Earth To me or mine ; and what a tyrant thou art, And what slaves these; and what a world we make, The oppressor and the oppressed—such pangs

compel My answer. What is it thou wouldst with me!

JUDGE.

Art thou not guilty of thy father's death?

BEATRICE.

Or wilt thou rather tax high-judging God

That he permitted such an act as that

Which I have suffered, and which he beheld;

Made it unutterable, and took from it

AU refuge, all revenge, all consequence,

But that which thou hast called my father's death t

Which is or is not what men call a crime,

Which either I have done, or have not done;

Say what ye will. I shall deny no more.

If ye desire it thus, thus let it be,

And so an end of all. Now do your will;

No other pains shall force another word.

JUDGE.

She is convicted, but has not confessed.

Be it enough. Until their final sentence

Let none have converse with them. You, young

Linger not here! [lord,

BEATRICE.

0, tear him not away!

JUDGE.

Guards! do your duty.

Bernardo {embracing Beatrice).

Oh! would ye divide Body from soul!

OFFICER.

That is the headsman's business. [Exeunt all but Lucrbtia, Beatrice, and Giacomo.

GIACOMO.

Have I confessed 1 Is it all over now!
No hope! No refuge! 0 weak, wicked tongue,
Which hast destroyed me, would that thou hadst been
Cut out and thrown to dogs first! To have killed
My father first, and then betrayed my sister;
Ay, thee! the one thing innocent and pure
In this black, guilty world, to that which I
So well deserve! My wife 1 my little ones!
Destitute, helpless ; and I—Father! God!
Canst thou forgive even the unforgiving,
When their full hearts break thus, thus !—

[Covert hit fact and iceept.

LUCRBTIA.

0, my child! To what a dreadful end are we all come! Why did I yield 1 Why did I not sustain Those torments? Oh 1 that I were all dissolved Into these fast and unavailing tears, Which flow and feel not!

BEATRICE.

What 'twas weak to do,
'Tis weaker to lament, once being done;
Take cheer 1 The God who knew my wrong, and
Our speedy act the angel of his wrath, [made

Seems, and but seems, to have abandoned us.
Let us not think that we shall die for this.
Brother, sit near me; give me your firm hand,
You had a manly heart. Bear up! bear up!
Oh! dearest lady, put your gentle head
Upon my lap, and try to sleep awhile:
Your eyes look pale, hollow, and overworn,
With heaviness of watching and slow grief.
Come, I will sing you some low, sleepy tune,
Not cheerful, nor yet sad ; some dull old thing,
Some outworn and unused monotony,
Such as our country gossips sing and spin,
Till they almost forget they live: lie down!
So ; that will do. Have I forgot the words!
Faith! they are sadder than I thought they were.

unto.

False friend, wilt thou smile or weep
When my life is laid asleep?
Little cares for a smile or a tear.
The clay-cold corpse upon the bier;

Farewell 1 Heigh ho!

What is this whispers low?
There is a snake in thy smile, my dear;
And bitter poison within thy tear.

Sweet sleep! were death like to thee,
Or if thou couldst mortal be,
I would close these eyes of pain;
When to wake? Never again.

O World! farewell!

Listen to the passing bell!
It says, thou and I must part.
With a light and a heavy heart.

[The tune clota. SCENE IV.

A Hall of Ihc Prison.
Enter Camhxo and Bernardo.

CAMILLO.

The Pope is stern; not to be moved or bent.

He looked as calm and keen as is the engine

Which tortures and which kills, exempt itself

From aught that it inflicts; a marble form,

A rite, a law, a custom ; not a man.

He frowned, as if to frown had been the trick

Of his machinery, on the advocates

Presenting the defences, which he tore

And threw behind, muttering with hoarse, harsh

voice: "Which among ye defended their old father Killed in his sleep V Then to another: " Thou Dost this in virtue of thy place; 'tis well." He turned to me then, looking deprecation, And said these three words, coldly: "They must

die."

BERNARDO.

And yet you left him not!

CAMILLO.

I urged him still;' Pleading, as I could guess, the devilish wrong Which prompted your unnatural parent's death. And he replied, " Paolo Santa Croce Murdered his mother yester evening, And he is fled. Parricide grows so rife, That soon, for some just cause no doubt, the young Will strangle us all, dozing in our chairs. Authority, and power, and hoary hair Are grown crimes capital. You are my nephew, You come to ask then- pardon; stay a moment; Here is their sentence; never see me more Till, to the letter, it be all fulfilled."

BERNARDO.

0, God, not so! I did believe indeed

That all you said was but sad preparation

For happy news. O, there are words and looks

To bend the sternest purpose 1 Once I knew them,

Now I forget them at my dearest need.

What think you if I seek him out, and bathe

His feet and robe with hot and bitter tears?

Importune him with prayers, vexing his brain

With my perpetual cries, until in rage

He strike me with his pastoral cross, and trample

Upon my prostrate head, so that my blood

May stain the senseless dust on which he treads,

And remorse waken mercy! I will do it!

0, wait till I return! [Rushes out.

CAMILLO.

Alas! poor boy! A wreck-devoted seaman thus might pray To the deaf sea.

Enter Lucretia, BkaTrick, and Giacomo, guarded.

BEATRICE.

I hardly dare to fear That thou bring'st other news than a just pardon.

CAMILLO. May God in heaven be less inexorable To the Pope's prayers, than he has been to mine. Here is the sentence and the warrant.

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My God I Can it be possible I have

To die so suddenly! So young to go

Under the obscure, cold, rotting, wormy ground!

To be nailed down into a narrow place;

To see no more sweet sunshine ; hear no more

Blithe voice of living thing ; muse not again

Upon familiar thoughts, sad, yet thus lost!

How fearful! to be nothing! Or to be—

What? O, where am I i Let me not go mad!

Sweet Heaven, forgive weak thoughts! If there

should be No God, no Heaven, no Earth in the void world; The wide, grey, lampless, deep, unpeopled world! If all things then should be—my father's spirit. His eye, his voice, his touch surrounding me; The atmosphere and breath of my dead life! If sometimes, as a shape more like himself, Even the form which tortured me on earth, Masked in grey hairs and wrinkles, he should come, And wind me in his hellish arms, and fix His eyes on mine, and drag me down, down, down! For was he not alone omnipotent On Earth, and ever present t even though dead, Does not his spirit live in all that breathe, And work for me and mine still the same ruin, Scorn, pain, despair! Who ever yet returned To teach the laws of death's untrodden realm! Unjust perhaps as those which drive us now, 0, whither, whither f

LUCRETIA.

Trust in God's sweet love, The tender promises of Christ: ere night Think we shall be in Paradise.

BEATRICE.

Tis past! Whatever comes, my heart shall sink no more. And yet, I know not why, your words strike chill: How tedious, false, and cold seem all things! I Have met with much injustice in this world; No difference has been made by God or man, Or any power moulding my wretched lot, 'Twixt good or evil, as regarded me. I am cut off from the only world I know, From light, and life, and love, in youth'sswect prime. You do well telling me to trust in God; I hope I do trust in him. In whom else Can any trust! And yet my heart is cold.

[During the latter speches Giacomo has retired con-
versing with Camillo, It ho note goes out; Giacomo
advances.

GIACOMO.
Know you not, mother—sister, know you not f
Bernardo even now is gone to implore
The Pope to grant our pardon.

LUCRETIA.

Child, perhaps
It will be granted. We may all then live
To make these woes a tale for distant years:
0, what a thought! It gushes to my heart
Like the warm blood.

BEATRICE.

Yet both will soon be cold: O, trample out that thought! Worse than despair, Worse than the bitterness of death, is hope: It is the only ill which can find place

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Upon the giddy, sharp, and narrow hour
Tottering beneath us. Plead with the swift frost
That it should spare the eldest flower of spring:
Plead with awakening earthquake, o'er whose couch
Even now a city stands, strong, fair, and free;
Now stench and blackness yawns, like death. 0,
With famine, or wind-walking pestilence, [plead
Blind lightning, or the deaf sea, not with man!
Cruel, cold, formal man; righteous in words,
In deeds a Cain. No, mother, we must die:
Since such is the reward of innocent lives;
Such the alleviation of worst wrongs.
And whilst our murderers live, and hard, cold men,
Smiling and slow, walk through a world of tears
To death as to life's sleep; 'twere just the grave
Weresomestrangejoyforus. Come, obscure Death,
And wind me in thine all-embracing arms!
Like a fond mother hide me in thy bosom,
And rock me to the sleep from which none wake.
Live ye, who live, subject to one another
Aa we were once, who now—

Bernardo ruttia in.
BERNARDO.

0, horrible 1
That tears, that looks, that hope poured forth in
Even till the heart is vacant and despairs, [prayer,
Should all be vain! The ministers of death
Are waiting round the doors. I thought I saw
Blood on the face of one—what if 'twere fancy!
Soon the heart's blood of all I love on earth
Will sprinkle him, and he will wipe it off
As if 'twere only rain. 0, life! 0, world!
Cover me 1 let me be no more! To see
That perfect mirror of pure innocence
Wherein I gazed, and grew happy and good,
Shivered to dust! To see thee, Beatrice,
Who made all lovely thou didst look upon—
Thee, light of life—dead, dark ! while I say, sister,
To hear I have no sister; and thou, mother,
Whose love was a bond to all our loves-
Bead! The sweet bond broken!

Enter CamIllo and Guards.

They come! Let me Kiss those warm lips before their crimson leaves Are blighted—white—cold. Say farewell, before Death chokes that gentle voice! 0 let me hear Yon speak!

BEATRICE.

Farewell, my tender brother. Think Of our sad fate with gentleness, as now: And let mild, pitying thoughts lighten for thee Thy sorrow's load. Err not in harsh despair, But tears and patience. One thing more, my child: For thine own sake be constant to the love Thou bearest us; and to the faith that I, Though wrapt in a strange cloud of crime and

shame, Lived ever holy and unstained. And though 111 tongues shall wound me, and our common

name Be as a mark stamped on thine innocent brow For men to point at as they pass, do thou Forbear, and never think a thought unkind Of those who perhaps love thee in their graves. So mayest thou die as I do ; fear and pain Being subdued. Farewell! Farewell! Farewell!

BERNARDO.

I cannot say farewell!

CAM ILLO.

0, Lady Beatrice!

BEATRICE.

Give yourself no unnecessary pain,
My dear Lord Cardinal. Here, mother, tie
My girdle for me, and bind up this hair
In any simple knot: ay, that does well.
And yours I see is coming down. How often
Have we done this for one another 1 now
We shall not do it any more. My lord,
We are quite ready. Well, 'tis very well

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