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That crimes like yours if once or twice And reconcile thyself with thine own compounded
heart Enriched the Church, and respited from And with thy God, and with the offended hell
world. An erring soul which might repent and How hideously look deeds of lust and live:
blood But that the glory and the interest Thro' those snow white and venerable Of the high throne he fills, little consist
hairs ! With making it a daily mart of guilt Your children should be sitting round As manifold and hideous as the deeds
you now, Which you scarce hide from men's re- But that you fear to read upon their
looks Cenci. The third of my possessions The shame and misery you have written -let it go!
there. Ay, I once heard the nephew of the Where is your wife? Where is your Pope
gentle daughter? Had sent his architect to view the ground, Methinks her sweet looks, which make Meaning to build a villa on my vines
all things else The next time I compounded with his Beauteous and glad, might kill the fiend
uncle: I little thought he should outwit me so! Why is she barred from all society Henceforth no witness—not the lamp—— But her own strange and uncomplaining shall see
wrongs? That which the vassal threatened to Talk with me, Count, you know I divulge
mean you well. Whose throat is choked with dust for I stood beside your dark and fiery youth his reward.
Watching its bold and bad career, as The deed he saw could not have rated higher
Watch meteors, but it vanished notThan his most worthless life:-it angers
I marked me!
Your desperate and remorseless manRespited me from Hell !So may the hood; now Devil
Do I behold you in dishonoured age Respite their souls from Heaven. No Charged with a thousand unrepented doubt Pope Clement,
crimes. And his most charitable nephews, pray Yet I have ever hoped you would amend, That the Apostle Peter and the saints And in that hope have saved your life Will grant for their sake that I long
three times. enjoy
Cenci. For which Aldobrandino Strength, wealth, and pride, and lust,
owes you now and length of days
My fief beyond the Pincian—Cardinal, Wherein to act the deeds which are the One thing, I pray you, recollect hencestewards
forth, Of their revenue.-- But much yet re- And so we shall converse with less remains
straint. To which they show no title.
A man you knew spoke of my wife and Camillo.
Oh, Count Cenci! daughter-So much that thou mightst honourably He was accustomed to frequent my live
So the next day his wife and daughter Cenci, Why, miserable ?
No.-I am what your theologians call And asked if I had seen him; and I Hardened;— which they must be in smiled :
impudence, I think they never saw him any more. So to revile a man's peculiar taste. Camillo. Thou execrable man, be- True, I was happier than I am, while ware!
Of thee? Manhood remained to act the thing I Nay this is idle:We should know each thought; other.
While lust was sweeter than revenge ; As to my character for what men call
and now crime
Invention palls:-Ay, we must all grow Seeing I please my senses as I list,
oldAnd vindicate that right with sorce or And but that there yet remains a deed guile,
to act It is a public matter, and I care not Whose horror might make sharp an If I discuss it with you.
I may speak
appetite Alike to you and my own conscious Duller than mine--I'd do—I know not heart
what. For you give out that you have half re- When I was young I thought of nothing
else Therefore strong vanity will keep you But pleasure; and I fed on honey sweets: silent
Men, by St. Thomas! cannot live like If fear should not; both will, I do not bees, doubt.
And I grew tired:--yet, till I killed a All men delight in sensual luxury,
foe, All men enjoy revenge; and most exult And heard his groans, and heard his Over the tortures they can never feel
children's groans, Flattering their secret peace with others' Knew I not what delight was else on
pain. But I delight in nothing else. I love Which now delights me little. I the The sight of agony, and the sense of rather joy,
Look on such pangs as terror ill conWhen this shall be another's, and that
The dry fixed eyeball; the pale quiverAnd I have no remorse and little fear,
ing lip, Which are, I think, the checks of other Which tell me that the spirit weeps
within This mood has grown upon me, until Tears bitterer than the bloody sweat of
Christ. Any design my captious fancy makes I rarely kill the body, which preserves, The picture of its wish, and it forms Like strong prison, the soul within
my power, But such as men like you would start Wherein I feed it with the breath of to know,
fear Is as my natural food and rest debarred For hourly pain. Until it be accomplished.
Camillo. Hell's most abanCamillo. Art thou not
doned fiend Most miserable?
Did never, in the drunkenness of guilt,
Speak to his heart as now you speak to
Enter ANDREA. me;
My lord? I thank my God that I believe you not. Cenci. Bid Beatrice attend me in Enter ANDREA.
her chamber Andrea. My Lord, a gentleman from This evening :-no, at midnight and Salamanca
(Exeunt. Would speak with you. Cenci. Bid hiin attend me in the
grand saloon. [Exit ANDREA. SCENE II. - A GARDEN OF Camillo. Farewell; and I will pray CENCI PALACE. Enter BEATRICE Almighty God that thy false, impious and Orsino, as in conversation.
words Tempt not his spirit to abandon thee. Beatrice.
Pervert not truth, [Exit CAMILLO. | Orsino. You remember where we held Cenci. The third of my possessions ! That conversation ;-—nay, we see the I must use
spot Close husbandry, or gold, the old man's Even from this cypress ;-two long years sword,
are past Falls from my withered hand. But Since, on an April midnight, underneath yesterday
The moonlight ruins of mount Palatine, There came an order from the Pope to I did confess to you my secret mind. make
Orsino. You said you loved me Foursold provision for my cursed sons;
then. Whom I had sent from Rome to Sala- Beatrice.
You are a Priest, manca,
Speak to me not of love. Hoping some accident might cut them Orsino.
I may obtain
The dispensation of the Pope to marry. And meaning if I could to starve them Because I am a Priest do you believe there.
Your image, as the hunter some struck I pray thee, God, send some quick deer, death upon them!
Follows me not whether I wake or Bernardo and my wife could not be worse sleep? If dead and damned:- then, as to Beatrice. As I have said, speak to Beatrice
me not of love; (Looking around him suspiciously.) Had you a dispensation I have not; I think they cannot hear me at that Nor will I leave this home of misery door;
Whilst my poor Bernard, and that gentle What if they should ? And yet I need lady not speak
To whom I owe life, and these virtuous Though the heart triumphs with itself thoughts, in words.
Must suffer what I still have strength to O, thou most silent air, that shalt not
Alas, Orsino! All the love that once What now I think! Thou, pavement, I felt for you, is turned to bitter pain. which I tread
Ours was a youthful contract, which you Towards her chamber,- let your echoes
Broke, by assuming vows no Pope will Of my imperious step scorning surprise,
loose. But not of my intent !--Andrea ! And thus I love you still, but holily,
Even as a sister or a spirit might; Great God! that such a father should be And so I swear a cold fidelity.
mine! And it is well perhaps we shall not But there is mighty preparation made, marry.
And all our kin, the Cenci, will be there, You have a sly, equivocating vein And all the chief nobility of Rome. That suits me not. —Ah, wretched that And he has bidden me and my pale I am !
Mother Where shall I turn ? Even now you Attire ourselves in festival array. look on me
Poor lady! She expects some happy As you were not my friend, and as if change you
In his dark spirit from this act; I none. Discovered that I thought so, with false At supper I will give you the petition : smiles
Till when- farewell. Making my true suspicion seem your Orsino. Farewell. (Exit BEATRICE.) wrong.
I know the Pope Ah no! forgive me; sorrow makes me Will ne'er absolve me from my priestly
Sterner than else my nature might have But by absolving me from the revenue been;
Of many a wealthy see ; and, Beatrice, I have a weight of melancholy thoughts, I think to win thee at an easier rate. And they forbode,—but what can they Nor shall he read her eloquent petition : forbode
He might bestow her on
some poor Worse than I now endure ?
All will be well. Of his sixth cousin, as he did her sister, Is the petition yet prepared ? You know And I should be debarred from all access. My zeal for all you wish, sweet Beatrice; Then as to what she suffers from her Doubt not but I will use my utmost
In all this there is much exaggeration :So that the Pope attend to your com- Old men are testy and will have their plaint.
way; Beatrice. Your zeal for all I wish ;- A man may stab his enemy, or his vassal, Ah me, you are cold !
And live a free life as to wine or women, Your utmost skill , . speak but one | And with a peevish temper may return
word (aside) Alas! To a dull home, and rate his wife and Weak and deserted creature that I am,
children; Here I stand bickering with my only Daughters and wives call this foul friend! [To ORSINO.
tyranny. This night my father gives a sumptuous I shall be well content if on my confeast,
science Orsino; he has heard some happy news There rest no heavier sin than what From Salamanca, from my brothers they suffer there,
From the devices of my love-A net And with this outward show of love he From which she shall escape not. Yet mocks
I fear His inward hate. 'Tis bold hypocrisy, Her subtle mind, her awe-inspiring gaze, For he would gladlier celebrate their Whose beams anatomise me nerve by
deaths, Which I have heard him pray for on his And lay me bare, and make me blush My hidden thoughts.—Ah, no! A friend- Cenci, It is indeed a most desired less girl
event. Who clings to me, as to her only hope:- If, when a parent from a parent's heart I were a fool, not less than if a panther Lifts from this earth to the great father Were panic-stricken by the antelope's
of all eye,
A prayer, both when he lays him down If she escape me.
[Exit. to sleep,
One supplication, one desire, one hope, SCENE III.-A MAGNIFICENT HALI. That he would grant a wish for his two IN THE CENCI PALACE. A BANQUET.
sons, Enter Cenci, LUCRETIA, BEATRICE, Even all that he demands in their Orsino, CAMILLO, NOBLES.
And suddenly beyond his dearest hope, Cenci. Welcome, my friends and It is accomplished, he should then rejoice, kinsmen; welcome ye,
And call his friends and kinsmen to a Princes and Cardinals, pillars of the feast, church,
And task their love to grace his merriWhose presence honours our festivity.
ment, I have too long lived like an anchorite, Then honour me thus far—for I am he. And in my absence from your merry Beatrice (to LucretIA). Great God ! meetings
How horrible! Some dreadful ill An evil word is gone abroad of me; Must have befallen my brothers. But I do hope that you, my noble Lucretia.
Fear not, Child, friends,
He speaks too frankly. When you have shared the entertainment Beatrice.
Ah! My blood here,
runs cold. And heard the pious cause for which 'tis I fear that wicked laughter round his eye, given,
Which wrinkles up the skin even to the And we have pledged a health or two
Cenci. Here are the letters brought Will think me flesh and blood as well
Beatrice, read them to your mother. Sinful indeed, for Adam made all so,
God! But tender-hearted, meek and pitisul. I thank thee! In one night didst thou First Guest, In truth, my Lord, perform,
you seem too light of heart, By ways inscrutable, the thing I sought. Too sprightly and companionable a man, My disobedient and rebellious sons To act the deeds that rumour pins on Are dead Why dead !-- What means you.
this change of cheer ? (To his companion.) I never saw such You hear me not, I tell you they are blithe and open cheer
dead; In any eye!
And they will need no food or raiment Second Guest. Some most desired event,
The tapers that did light them the dark In which we all demand a common joy,
way Has brought us hither; let us hear it, Are their last cost. The Pope, I think, Count.