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Pier. I passed this very moment by thy doors,
Pier. Thank heaven! for what?
Pier. Curse thy dull stars, and the worse fate of Venice,
Where brothers, friends, and fathers, are all false; Where there's no truth, no trust; where inno
Stoops under vile oppression, and vice lords it.
Shining through tears, like April suns in showers, That labour to o'ercome the cloud that loads them;
Whilst two young virgins, on whose arms she leaned,
Kindly looked up, and at her grief grew sad,
Governed their roaring throats, and grumbled pity;
I could have hugged the greasy rogues: they pleased me.
Jaf. I thank thee for this story, from my soul; Since now I know the worst, that can befal me. Ah, Pierre! I have a heart, that could have borne The roughest wrong, my fortune could have done
But, when I think what Belvidera feels,
First burn and level Venice to thy ruin!
Under a hedge, and whine ourselves to death! Thou, or thy cause, shall never want assistance,
Whilst I have blood or fortune fit to serve thee: Command my heart! thou art every way its mas
Jaf. No, there's a secret pride in bravely dying. Pier. Rats die in holes and corners; dogs run mad:
Man knows a braver remedy for sorrow—
Thy Belvidera suffers; Belvidera!
Die-damn first-What! be decently interred
Pier. Well said, out with it, swear a littleJaf. Swear! by sea and air; by earth, by heaven and hell,
I will revenge my Belvidera's tears.
Hark thee, my friend-Priuli-is-a senator.
Pier. Shoot him.
Jaf. With all my heart.
No more; where shall we meet at night?
On the Rialto, every night at twelve,
I take my evening's walk of meditation; There we two will meet, and talk of precious Mischief
If thou art altered, where shall I have harbour? | Endure the bitter gripes of smarting poverty? Where ease my loaded heart? Oh! where complain?
Bel. Does this appear like change, or love decaying,
When thus I throw myself into thy bosom,
Sure all ill stories of thy sex are false !
Oh woman! lovely woman! Nature made thee To temper man: we had been brutes without you!
Angels are painted fair to look like you:
Bel. If love be treasure, we'll be wondrous
I have so much, my heart will surely break with it:
I swell, and sigh, and labour with my longing.
Jaf. Oh, Belvidera! doubly I am a beggar:
When banished by our miseries abroad
For charitable succour; wilt thou then,
Wilt thou then talk thus to me? Wilt thou then
Bel. Oh! I will love thee, even in madness
Though my distracted senses should forsake me,
Creep to thy bosom, pour the balm of love
Jaf. Hear this, you heavens ! and wonder how you made her :
Reign, reign, ye monarchs, that divide the world;
In one dear casket, and saved only that;
To foil himself at what he is unfit for;
For then, my Pierre, I might have cause, with
To play the hypocrite. Oh! how I could weep
In hopes to smother him quite; then, when the
Was come to pay my sorrows at the funeral,
And must be private. As you prize my friend-
Keep up your coxcomb; let him not pry, nor lis-
Nor frisk about the house, as I have seen him,
Pier. How! a woman ask questions out of bed!
But pump not me for politics. No more!
Is love so soon and utterly forgotten?
Pier. As you henceforward treat your fool,
Aqui. Cursed be all fools-I die, if he for-
And how to keep him, Heaven or hell instruct ne!
SCENE II.-The Rialto.
But entertained each other's thoughts like men,
Jaf. I am here; and thus, the shades of night Have happened? Has Priuli's heart relented?
I look as if all hell were in my heart,
And I in hell. Nay surely 'tis so with me!
Can he be honest?
Jaf. Kind Heaven, let heavy curses
Gall his old age; cramps, aches, rack his bones,
And bitterest disquiet wring his heart!
Pier. Nay, couldst thou not
As well, my friend, have stretched the curse to all
The senate round, as to one single villain?
Jaf. But curses stick not: Čould I kill with cursing,
By Heaven I know not thirty heads in Venice
Die of their own diseases. Oh! for a curse
Pier. Daggers, daggers are much better.
Juf. But where are they?
Pier. Oh! a thousand
May be disposed of, in honest hands, in Venice. Jaf. Thou talkest in clouds.
Pier. But yet a heart, half wronged
As thine has been, would find the meaning, Jaffier.
Jaf. A thousand daggers, all in honest hands! And have not I a friend will stick one here! Pier. Yes, if I thought thou wert not to be cherished
To a nobler purpose, I would be that friend;
Jaf. When thou wouldst bind me, is there need of oaths?
For thou'rt so near my heart, that thou may'st see
Pier. Nay, 'tis a cause thou wilt be fond of,
For it is founded on the noblest basis; Our liberties, our natural inheritance.
There's no religion, no hypocrisy in it;
Openly act a deed, the world shall gaze
Pier. For liberty, my friend.
Thou shalt be freed from base Priuli's tyranny,
All Venice free, and every growing merit
Sit only watchful with their heavy wings To cuff down new-fledged virtues, that would rise
To nobler heights, and make the grove harmo
Jaf. What can I do?
Pier. Canst thou not kill a senator?
Jaf. Were there one wise or honest, I could
For herding with that nest of fools and knaves. By all my wrongs, thou talkest as if revenge Were to be had; and the brave story warms me. Pier. Swear, then!
Juf. I do, by all those glittering stars, And yon great ruling planet of the night; By all good powers above, and ill below; By love and friendship, dearer than my life, No
power or death shall make me false to thee. Pier. Here we embrace, and I'll unlock my heart.
A council is held hard by, where the destruction Of this great empire is hatching: there I'll lead
A wretch can build on! It is, indeed, at distance, 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;
Spin. Renault, good-morrow, for by this time I think the scale of night has turned the balance, And weighs up morning. Has the clock struck twelve?
Ren. Yes; Clocks will go as they are set: but man,
Irregular man's ne'er constant, never certain :
In waiting dull attendance; 'tis the curse
Ren. What's then the cause, that I am here alone?
Why are we not together?
O, sir, welcome!
You are an Englishman: when treason's hatching,
One might have thought you'd not have been behindhand.
In what whore's lap have you been lolling?
Enter BEDAMAR the Ambassador, THEODORE,
Is this a time for quarrels? Thieves and rogues Fall out and brawl: should men of your high calling,
Men separated by the choice of Providence
Bed. Renault, thy hand.
Ren. I thought I'd given my heart Long since to every man, that mingles here; But grieve to find it trusted with such tempers, That can't forgive my froward age its weakness. Bed. Eliot, thou once had'st virtue. I have
Oh, Pierre! thou art welcome. Come to my breast! for, by its hopes, thou look'st Lovelily dreadful, and the fate of Venice Seems on thy sword already. Oh, my Mars! The poets, that first feigned the god of war, Sure prophesied of thee.
Pier. Friend, was not Brutus
(I mean that Brutus, who, in open senate, Stabbed the first Cæsar that usurped the world) A gallant man?
Ren. Yes, and Catiline too;
Though story wrong his fame: for he conspired
Bed. And our's as much above it,
Pier. Then to what we aim at.
When do we start? or must we talk for ever? Bed. No, Pierre, the deed's near birth; fate seems to have set
The business up, and given it to our care;
We will die with Bedamar.
Bed. O men!
Matchless! as will your glory be hereafter:
Ren. What can lose it?
The public stock's a beggar; one Venetian
Let loose the murmuring army on their masters, To pay themselves with plunder; lop their nobles
To the base roots, whence most of them first sprung;
Enslave the rout, whom smarting will make humble;
Turn out their droning senate, and possess That seat of empire, which our souls were framed for.
Pier. Ten thousand men are armed at your nod, Commanded all by leaders fit to guide
A battle for the freedom of the world: