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DANDOLO.

FAZIO.

DANDOLO.

Who would not hymn so rare and rich a wedding ? ACT II.-SCENE I.

Who would not serve within the gorgeous palace,

Glorified by such strange and admired inmates ?
A Hall in the Palace of Fazio.

Fazio (aside.)
FALSETTO, DANDOLO, PHILARIO, and a Gentleman, Now the poor honest Fazio had disdain'd

Such scurvy fellowship; howbeit, Lord Fazio
FALSETTO.

Must lacquey his new state with these base jackals. Serve ye Lord Fazio ?

(To him.)
GENTLEMAN.

Fair sir, you 'll honour me with your company.
Ay, sir, he honours me

(To Dandolo.) With his commands.

May I make bold, sir, with your state and title?
FALSETTO.

'Tis a brave gentleman! Tell him Signior Falsetto, and Philario,

Oh, my lord, by the falling of your robe, The most renowned Improvisatore,

Your cloth of gold one whole hair's-breadth too low, And Signior Dandolo, the court fashionist,

'Tis manifest you know not Signior Dandolo.
Present their duty to him.
GENTLEMAN.

A pitiable lack of knowledge, sir !
Ay, good sirs.
(Aside.] My master hath a Midas touch; these fellows My lord, thou hast before thee in thy presence
Will try if he hath ears like that great king. (Exit. The mirror of the court, the very calendar
Enter Fazio, splendidly dressed.

That rules the swift revolving round of fashion;

Doth tell what hues do suit what height o' the sun ; FALSETTO.

When your spring pinks should banish from the court Most noble lord, most wonderful philosopher!

Your sober winter browns; when July heat We come to thank thee, sir, that thou dost honour

Doth authorize the gay and flaunting yellows; Our Florence with the sunlight of your fame.

The court thermometer, that doth command Thou that hast ravish'd nature of a secret

Your three-piled velvet abdicate its state That maketh thee her very paragon :

For the airy satins. Oh, my lord, you are too late, She can but create gold, and so canst thou :

At least three days, with your Venetian tissue.
But she doth bury it in mire and mirk,

FAZIO.
Within the unsunn'd bowels of the earth :
But thou dost set it on the face of the world,

I sorrow, sir, to merit your rebuke
Making it shame its old and sullen darkness.

On point so weighty.

DANDOLO.
FAZIO.
Fair sir, this cataract of courtesy

Ay, signior, I'm paramount

In all affairs of boot, and spur, and hose ;
O’erwhelms my weak and unhabituate ears.

In matters of the robe and cap supreme;
If I may venture such uncivil ignorance,
Your quality ?

In ruff disputes, my lord, there's no appeal
From my irrefragibility.

FAZIO.
I, my good lord, am one

Sweet sir,
Have such keen eyesight for my neighbours' virtues,

I fear me, such despotic rule and sway
And such a doting love for excellence,
That when I see a wise man, or a noble,

Over the persons of our citizens
Or wealthy, as I ever hold it pity

Must be of danger to our state of Florence. Man should be blind to his own merits, words

DANDOLO. Slide from my lips ; and I do mirror him

Good sooth, my lord, I am a very tyrant.
In the clear glass of my poor eloquence.

Why, if a senator should presume to wear
FAZIO.

A cloak of fur in June, I should indict him
In coarse and honest phraseology,

Guilty of leze-majesté against my kingship: A flatterer.

They call me Dandolo, the King of Fashions – FALSETTO.

The whole empire of dress is my dominion. Flatterer! Nay, the word 's grown gross. Why, if our Duke should wear an ill-grain'd colour An apt discourser upon things of honour,

Against my positive enactment, though Professor of art Panegyrical.

His state might shield him from the palpable shame "T were ill were I a hawk to see such bravery, Of a rebuke, yet, my good lord, opinion, And not a thrush to sing of it. Wealth, sir,

Public opinion, would hold Signior Dandolo
Wealth is the robe and outward garb of man; Merciful in his silence.
The setting to the rarer jewelry,

FAZIO.
The soul's unseen and inner qualities.

A Lycurgus !
And then, my lord, philosophy! 't is that,

DANDOLO.
The stamp and impress of our divine nature, Good, my lord! dignity must be upheld
By which we know that we are Gods, and are so. On the strong pillars of severity.
But wealth and wisdom in one spacious breast ! Your cap, my lord, a little to the north-east,

255

FALSETTO.

And

your sword - thus, my lord — pointed out this Oh, my lord, 't is the curse and brand of poesy, way,

[Adjusting him. That it must trim its fetterless free plumes In an equilateral triangle. Nay,

To the gross fancies of the humoursome age; Nay, on my credit, my good lord, this hose

That it must stoop from its bold heights to court Is a fair woof. The ladies, sir, the ladies

Liquorish opinion, whose aye-wavering breath (For I foresee you 'll be a ruling planet),

Is to it as the precious air of life. Must not be taught any heretical fancies,

Oh, in a capering, chambering, wanton land, Fantastical infringements of my codes —

The lozel's song alone gains audience, Your lordship must give place to Signior Dandolo Fine loving ditties, sweet to sickliness; About their persons.

'The languishing and luscious touch alone,
FAZIO.

Of all the full harp's ecstasies, can detain
Gentle sir, the ladies

The pall'd and pamper'd ear of Italy.
Must be too deeply, irresistibly yours.

But, my lord, we have deeper mysteries
DANDOLO.

For the initiate Hark!-- it bursts! - it flows!
No, signior, no; I'm not one of the gallants
That pine for a fair lip, or eye, or cheek,

Song by Philario.
Or that poetical treasure, a true heart.
But, my lord, a fair-order'd head-dress makes me

Rich and royal Italy!
As love-sick as a dove at mating-time:

Dominion's lofty bride!

Earth deem'd no loss of pride tasteful slipper is my soul's delight. Oh, I adore a robe that drops and floats

To be enslaved by thee. As it were lighter than the air around it;

From broad Euphrates' bank,

When the sun look'd through the gloom, I dote upon a stomacher to distraction, When the gay jewels, gracefully disposed,

Thy eagle's golden plume Make it a zone of stars: and then a fan,

His orient splendour drank;

And when at ere he set The elegant motion of a fan, is murder,

Far in the chamber'd west,
Positive murder to my poor weak senses

That bird of brilliance yet
FAZIO (turning to PHILARIO.)

Bathed in his gorgeous rest.
But here's a third : the Improvisatore,
Gentle Philario, lurks, methinks, behind.

Sad and sunken Italy!
PHILARIO.

The plunderer's common prey !
Most noble lord! it were his loftiest hoast

When saw the eye of day To wed your honours to his harp. To hymn

So very a slave as thee? The finder of the philosophic stone,

Long, long a bloody stage The sovereign prince of alchymists ; 't would make

For petty kinglings tame, The cold verse-mechanist, the nice balancer

Their miserable game Of curious words and fair compacted phrases,

Of puny war to wage. Burst to a liquid and melodious flow,

Or from the northern star Rapturous and ravishing but in praise of thee!

Come haughty despots down, But I, my lord, that have the fluent vein,

With iron hand to share
The rapid rush

Thy bruised and broken crown.
FAZIO.
Fie, sir! O fie! 't is fulsome.

Fair and fervid Italy!
Sir, there's a soil fit for that rank weed flattery

Lady of each gentler art, To trail its poisonous and obscure clusters:

Yet couldst thou lead the heart A poet's soul should bear a richer fruitage –

In mild captivity. The aconite grew not in Eden. Thou,

Warm Raphael's Virgin sprung That thou, with lips tipt with the fire of heaven,

To worship and to love, Th' excursive eye, that in its earth-wide range

The enamour'd air above Drinks in the grandeur and the loveliness

Rich clouds of music hung, That breathes along this high-wrought world of man;

Thy poets bold and free Thou hast within thee apprehensions strong

Did noble wrong to time, Of all that 's pure and passionless and heavenly

In their high rhymed majesty That thou, a vapid and a mawkish parasite,

Ravishing thy clime. Shouldst pipe to that witch Fortune's favourites! 'Tis coarse—'t is sickly 't is as though the eagle

Loose and languid Italy! Should spread his sail-broad wings to flap a dunghill;

Where now the magic pow'r As though a pale and withering pestilence

That in thy doleful hour Should ride the golden chariot of the sun;

Made a queen of thee? As one should use the language of the gods

The pencil cold and dead,
To chatter loose and ribald brothelry,

Whose lightest touch was life;
PHILARIO.

The old immortal strife
My lord, I thank thee for that noble chiding -

of thy high poets fled.

FAZIO.

ALDABELLA.

FAZIO.

From her inglorious um
Will Italy arise ?

And why not, lady? She is exquisite,
Will golden days return

Bashfully, humbly exquisite ; yet Florence
'Neath the azure of her skies?

May be as proud of her, as of the richest,

That fire her with the lustre of their state.
This is done, oh, this is done,

And why not, lady?
When the broken land is one;
This shall be, oh, this shall be,

Why! I know not why-
When the slavish land is free.

Oh your philosophy, 't is ever curious ;
Poor lady Nature must tell all, and clearly,

To its inquisitorship. - We'll not think on 't:
SCENE II.

It fell frorn me un'wares; words will start forth,

When the mind wanders. -Oh no, not because The Public Walks of Florence.

She's merely lovely :- but we'll think no more Fazio, FALSETTO, DANDOLO, PHILARIO.

on't.

Didst hear the act ?
FALSETTO.
Yonder, my lord, is the Lady Aldabella,
The star of admiration to all Florence.

Lady, what act ?
DANDOLO.

ALDABELLA.

The act
There, my lord, there is a fair drooping robe —
Would that I were a breath of wind to float it!

Of the great Duke of Florence and his Senate,

Entitled against turtle doves in poesy.
FAZIO.
Gentlemen, by your leave I would salute her:

Henceforth that useful bird is interdict,

As the mild emblem of true constancy. You'll meet me anon in the Piazza.

[Exeunt all but Fazio. There 's a new word found ; 't is pure Tuscan too; Now, lofty woman, we are equal now,

Fazio's to fill the blank up, if it chime; And I will front thee in thy pitch of pride.

If not, Heaven help the rhymester.

FAZIO (apart.) Enter ALDABELLA. She speaks, after a salutation on with what an airy and a sparkling grace each side.

The language glances from her silken lips! Oh, thou and I, Sir, when we met of old,

Her once loved voice how exquisite it sounds, Were not so distant, nor so chill. My lord

E'en like a gentle music heard in childhood! I had forgot, my lord. You dawning signiors

ALDABELLA. Are jealous of your state; you great philosophers

Why yes, my lord, in these degenerate days Walk not on earth ; and we poor grovelling beings,

Constancy is so rare a virtue, angels If we would win your eminent regards,

Come down to gaze on 't: it makes the world proud. Must meet ye i' the air. Oh, it sits well

Who would be one o' the many? Why, our Florence This scorn, it looks so grave and reverend.

Will blaze with the miracle. "Tis true, 't is true,

The odour of the rose grows faint and sickly, Is scorn in Lady Aldabella's creed

And joys are finest by comparison. -
So monstrous and heretical ?

But what is that to the majestic pride
ALDABELLA.

Of being the sole true phenix ?

Again, Treason again, a most irreverent laugh,

Gentle lady, A traitorous jest before so learn'd a sage:

Thou speak'st as if that smooth word constancy But I may joy in thy good fortune, Fazio.

Were harsh and brassy sounding in thy ears.
FAZIO,

ALDABELLA.
In sooth, good fortune, if 't is worth thy joy,
The haughty Lady Aldabella's joy.

No, no, signior; your good old-fangled virtues

Have gloss enough for me, had it been my lot Nay, an thou hadst not dash'd so careless off

To be a miser's treasure: if his eyes My bounteous offering, I had said.

Ne'er open'd but on me, I ne'er had wept

At such a pleasant faithful avarice,
FAZIO.
What, lady?

Lady, there was a time when I did dream
Oh nought-mere sound-mere air-Thou'rt married, Of playing the miser to another treasure,
Fazio :

One not less precious than thy stately self, And is thy bride a jewel of the first water?

ALDABELLA. I know thou wilt say, ay; 't is an old tale,

Oh yes, my lord, oh yes; the tale did run Thy fond lip-revel on a lady's beauties :

That thou and I did love : so ran the tale. Methinks I've heard thee descant upon loveliness, That thou and I should have been wed - the tale Till the full ears were drunken with sweet sounds. Ran so, my lord. - Oh memory, memory, memory! But never let me see her, Fazio; never.

It is a bitter pleasure, but 't is pleasure.

FAZIO.

FAZIO.

ALDABELLA.

FAZIO,

ALDABELLA

FAZIO.

And thou, thou snowy and unsociable virtue, A pleasure, lady!- why then cast me off

May'st lose no less a votaress from thy nunnery Like an indifferent weed ? - with icy scorn

Than the most beautiful proud Aldabella Why choke the blossom that but woo'd thy sunshine ? Had I been honest, 't were indeed to fall; ALDABELLA.

But now 't is but a step down the declivity. Ah, what an easy robe is scorn to wear!

Bianca! but Bianca! - bear me up, 'Tis but to wrinkle up the level brow,

Bear me up, in the trammels of thy fondness To arch the pliant eyelash, and freeze up

Bind thou my slippery soul. Wrong thee, Bianca ? The passionless and placid orb within

Nay, nay, that 's deep indeed; fatbomless deep Castelli! oh Castelli !

In the black pit of infamy and sin :
FAZIO.

I am not so weary yet of the upper air.
Who was he, lady ?

Wrong thee, Bianca? No, not for the earth;

Not for earth's brightest, not for Aldabella. One, my good lord, I loved most fondly, fatally.

ALDABELLA.

FAZIO.

FAZIO.

FAZIO.

BIANCA.

Then thou didst love? love, Aldabella, truly,
Fervently, fondly? - But what's that to me?

SCENE III.
ALDABELLA.
Oh yes, my lord, he was a noble gentleman;

Palace of Fazio.
Thou know'st him by his title, Condé d'Orsoa;

Fazio and Bianca.
My nearest kinsman, my good uncle :- 1,
Knowing our passionate and fanciful nature,
To his sage counsels fetter'd my wild will.

Dost thou love me, Bianca?
Proud was he of me, deem'd me a fit mate

BIANCA. For highest princes; and his honest flatteries

There's a question So pamper'd me, the fatal duteousness

For a philosopher! - Why, I've answer'd it
So grew upon me — Fazio, dost thou think

For two long years; and, oh, for many more,
My colour wither'd since we parted? Gleam It will not stick upon my lips to answer thee.
Mine eyes as they were wont? Or doth the outside
Still wear a lying smooth indifference,

Thou 'rt in the fashion, then. The court, Bianca, While the unseen heart is haggard wan with woo ? The ladies of the court, find me a fair gentleman ; FAZIO.

Ay, and a dangerous wit too, that smites smartly. Is it possible? And didst thou love me, lady? Though it be joy vain and unprofitable

And thou believest it all! As is the sunshine to a dead man's eyes,

FAZIO. Pleasureless from his impotence of pleasure ;

Why, if the gallants, Tell me and truly

The lordly and frank spirits of the time,
ALDABELLA.

Troop around thee with gay rhymes on thy beauties,
My grave sir confessor,

Tinkling their smooth and amorous flatteries,
On with thy hood and cowl.–So thou wouldst hear Shalt thou be then a solemn infidel?
Of pining days and discontented nights ;
Ah me 's and doleful airs to my sad lute.

I shall not heed them; my poor beauty needs
Fazio, they suffer most who utter least. -

Only one flatterer. Heaven, what a babbling traitor is the tongue !

FAZIO. Would not the air freeze up such sinful sound ?

Ay, but they 'll press on thee, Oh no, thou heard'st it not. Ah me! and thou, And force their music into thy deaf ears. I know, wilt surfeit the coarse common ear

Think ye, ye should be coy, and calm, and cold?
With the proud Aldabella's fall. — Betray me not;
Be charier of her shame than Aldabella.

Oh, no! - I fear me a discourteous laugh
(Fuzio falls on his knees to her. Might be their guerdon for their lavish lying.
My lord ! my lord ! 't is public here - no more —
I'm staid for at my palace by the Arno.

But if one trip upon your lip, or wind
Farewell, my lord, farewell!— Betray me not:- Your fingers in his sportive hand, think ye
But never let me see her, Fazio, never.

Ye could endure it?
FAZIO (solus.)

BIANCA.
Love me! - to suffering love me!-- why her love

Fazio, thou wrong'st me Might draw a brazen statue from its pedestal, With such dishonest questionings. My lord, And make its yellow veins leap up with life. There's such an awe in virtue, it can make Fair Chastity, thou hast two juggling fiends

The anger of a sleek smooth brow like mine Caballing for thy jewel: one within,

Strike the hot libertine to dust before me. And that's a mild and melting devil, Love; He'd dare to dally with a fire in his hand, Th' other without, and that's a fair rich gentleman, Kiss ragged briars with his unholy lips, Giraldi Fazio: they 're knit in a league.

Ere with his rash assault altaint my honour.

BIANCA.

BIANCA

FAZIO.

FAZIO.

FAZIO.

And say,

BIANCA.

FAZIO.

BIANCA.

FAZIO.

Mine arms, mine arms, shall say the next “ shall not ;" But if ye see me by a noble lady,

I'll never startle more thy peevish ears, Whispering as though she were my shrine, whereon But I'll speak to thee with my positive lipe. I lay my odorous incense, and her beauty

(Kissing and clinging to him. Grow riper, richer at my cherishing praise ; If she lean on me with a fond round arm,

Oh, what a wild and wayward child am I!If her eye drink the light from out mine eyes, Like the hungry fool, that in his moody fit And if her lips drop sounds for my ear only; Dash'd from his lips his last delicious morsel. Thou 'lt arch thy moody brow, look at me gravely, I'll see her once, Bianca, and but once; With a pale anger on thy silent cheek.

And then a rich and breathing tale I'll tell her 'Tis out of keeping, 't is not the court fashion - of our full happiness. If she be angel, We must forego this clinging and the clasping; "T will be a gleam of Paradise to her, Be cold, and strange, and courteous to each other ; And she 'll smile at it one of those soft smiles,

" How doth my lord ?" How slept my That makes the air seem sunny, blithe, and balmy. lady ?"

If she be devil - Nay, but that's too ugly; As though we dwelt at opposite ends o' the city. The fancy doth rebel at it, and shrink

As from a serpent in a knot of flowers. What hath distemper'd thee ?- This is unnatural; Devil and Aldabella! - Fie!- They sound Thou couldst not talk thus in thy steadfast senses. Like nightingales and screech-owls heard together. Fazio, thou hast seen Aldabella!

What! must I still have tears to kiss away?

I will return - Good night! - It is but once.
Well,

See, thou 'st the taste o' my lips now at our parting; She is no basilisk - there's no death in her eyes. And when we meet again, if they be tainted,

Thou shalt-oh no, thou shalt not, canst not bate me. Ay, Fazio, but there is; and more than death

[Exeunt. A death beyond the grave

- a death of sin A howling, hideous, and eternal death Death the flesh shrinks from.- No, thou must not see her!

SCENE IV. Nay, I 'm imperative—thou 'rt mine, and shalt not.

Palace of ALDABELLA.
Shalt not!- Dost think me a thick-blooded slave,

ALDABELLA.
To say “ Amen" unto thy positive "shalt not ?" My dainty bird doth hover round the lure,
The hand upon a dial, only to point

And I must hood him with a skilful hand:
Just as your humorous ladyship choose to shine ? Rich and renown'd, he must be in my train,
BIANCA.

Or Florence will turn rebel to my beauty.
Fazio, thou sett'st a fever in my brain ;
My very lips burn, Fazio, at the thought :

Enter CLARA, Fazio behind.
I had rather thou wert in thy winding-sheet

ALDADELLA goes on.
Than that bad woman's arms; I had rather grave. Oh, Clara, have ye been to the Urrulines ?

What says my cousin, the kind Lady Abbess ?
Were on thy lips than that bad woman's kisses.

She says, my lady, that to-morrow noon Howbeit, there is no blistering in their taste :

Noviciates are admitted ; but she wonders, There is no suffocation in those arms.

My Lady Abbess wonders, and I too

Wonder, my lady, what can make ye fancy Take heed; we are passionate ; our milk of love Those damp and dingy cloisters. Oh, my lady! Doth turn to worm wood, and that's bitter drinking. They 'll make ye cut off all this fine dark hair The fondest are most frenetic: where the fire Why, all the signiors in the court would quarrel, Burneth intensest, there the inmate pale

And cut each other's throats for a loose hair of it. Doth dread the broad and beaconing conflagration.

ALDABELLA. If that ye cast us to the winds, the winds

Ah me! what heeds it where I linger out
Will give us their unruly restless nature;

The remnant of my dark and despised life?
We whirl and whirl; and where we settle, Fazio, Clara, thou weariest me.
But he that ruleth the mad winds can know.
If ye do drive the love out of my soul,

Oh, but, my lady,
That is its motion, being, and its life,

I saw their dress: it was so coarse and hard-grain'd, There'll be a conflict strange and horrible,

I'm sure 't would fret your ladyship's soft skin Among all fearful and ill-visaged fiends,

Like thorns and brambles; and besides, the make For the blank void ; and their mad revel there

on 't! Will make me-oh, I know not what-hate thee! - A vine-dresser's wife at market looks more dainty. Oh, no! - I could not hate thee, Fazio : Nay, nay, my Fazio, 't is not come to that;

Then my tears will not stain it. Oh, 't is rich enough

worms

CLARA,

FAZIO.

BIANCA.

CLARA

ALDABELLA.

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