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GIACOMO.

O, 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 ...

ORSINO.

'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 reinorse. What if we yet were safe?

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

ORSINO.

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

GIACOMO,
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 fiends; 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 louks,
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.

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Even to this gulph ? Thou art no liar ? 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.

ORSINO.

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

GIACOMO.
O, generous friend! How canst thou pardon me ?
Would that my life could purchase thine !

ORSINO.

That wish Now comes a day too late. Haste; fare thee well! Hear'st thou not steps along the corridor? (Exit GIACOMO.) I'm sorry for it; but 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 graspt and snapped the threads of my device And turned it to a net of ruin ... Ha! (a shout is 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 VOL. I.

Х

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Upon my face, thro' 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 ? Shall I be the slave
Of ... what? 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 ? (Exit.)

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SCENE II.

A HALL OF JUSTICE. CAMILLO, JUDGES &c. ARE DISCOVERED

SEATED; MARZIO IS LED IN.

FIRST JUDGE.
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.

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

SECOND JUDGE.

Away with him!

FIRST JUDGE.
Dare you, with lips yet white from the rack's kiss
Speak false? Is it so soft a questioner,

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That you would bandy lover's talk with it
Till it wind out your life and soul ? Away!

MARZIO.
Spare me! O, spare! I will confess.
FIRST JUDGE.

Then speak.

MARZIO. I strangled him in his sleep.

FIRST JUDGE.

Who urged you to it?

MARZIO.
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 forth with murdered him.
Now let me die.

FIRST JUDGE.
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 ?

BEATRICE.

We never saw him.

MARZIO.
You know me too well, Lady Beatrice.

BEATRICE.
I know thee! How ? where? when ?

MARZIO. .

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; he covers his face, and shrinks back.)

O, dart

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The terrible resentment of those eyes
On the dead earth! Turn them away from me!
They wound: 'twas torture forced the truth. My Lords,
Having said this let me be led to death.

BEATRICE.
Poor wretch, I pity thee: yet stay awhile.

CAMILLO.
Guards, lead him not away.

BEATRICE.

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 As merciful God spares even the damned. 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 loadstar of your life:”—and though All see, since his most swift and piteous death, That day and night, and heaven and earth, and time, And all the things hoped for or done therein Are changed to you, through your exceeding grief, Yet you would say, “I confess any thing: 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.

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