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Cenci has done an outrage to his daughter.
Giacomo. What outrage?
Orsino.
That she speaks

And darkly guessing, stumbling, in our talk,

Enter BEATRICE.

Beatrice. 'Tis my brother's voice!
You know me not?

not, but you may
Conceive such half conjectures as I do,
From her fixed paleness, and the lofty

Giacomo.

grief

My sister, my lost sister! Beatrice. Lost indeed! I see Orsino has talked with you, and Of her stern brow bent on the idle That you conjecture things too horrible To speak, yet far less than the truth. Now, stay not, He might return: yet kiss me; I shall know

air,

And her severe unmodulated voice, Drowning both tenderness and dread; and last

Bewildered in our horror, talked together With obscure hints; both self-misunderstood

From this; that whilst her step-mother That then thou hast consented to his
and I,
death.
Farewell, farewell! Let piety to God,
Brotherly love, justice and clemency,
And all things that make tender hardest
hearts

Make thine hard, brother. Answer
farewell.
[Exeunt severally.

not

Over the truth, and yet to its revenge,
She interrupted us, and with a look
Which told before she spoke it, he must
die: . . .

Giacomo. It is enough. My doubts
are well appeased;

There is a higher reason for the act
Than mine; there is a holier judge than

me,

Orsino. Not so; some accident
might interpose

To rescue him from what is now most sure;
And you are unprovided where to fly,
How to excuse or to conceal. Nay,
listen:

All is contrived; success is so assured
That . . .

SCENE II.-A MEAN APARTMENT IN
GIACOMO'S HOUSE. GIACOMO alone.
Giacomo. 'Tis midnight, and Orsino
comes not yet.

[Thunder, and the sound of a storm. What! can the everlasting elements Feel with a worm like man? If so the shaft

Of mercy-winged lightning would not

fall

My wife and

A more unblamed avenger. Beatrice,
Who in the gentleness of thy sweet
youth

Hast never trodden on a worm, or bruised
A living flower, but thou hast pitied it
With needless tears! Fair sister, thou On stones and trees.
children sleep:

in whom

Men wondered how such loveliness and They are now living in unmeaning wisdom dreams:

Did not destroy each other! Is there
made

Ravage of thee? O, heart, I ask no more
Justification! Shall I wait, Orsino,
Till he return, and stab him at the door?

S

But I must wake, still doubting if that deed

Be just which was most necessary. O, Thou unreplenished lamp! whose narrow fire

Y

Is shaken by the wind, and on whose
edge
Devouring darkness hovers! Thou small
flame,

Which, as a dying pulse rises and falls,
Still flickerest up and down, how very
soon,

Did I not feed thee, wouldst thou fail Will ne'er repent of aught designed or

and be

done

As thou hadst never been! So wastes But my repentance. and sinks

Even now, perhaps, the life that kindled

mine:

But that no power can fill with vital oil That broken lamp of flesh. Ha! 'tis the blood

Which fed these veins that ebbs till all is cold:

It is the form that moulded mine that sinks

My son will then perhaps be waiting

thus,

remorse;

Chiding the tardy messenger of news
Like those which I expect. I almost

Into the white and yellow spasms of death:

It is the soul by which mine was arrayed In God's immortal likeness which now stands

Naked before Heaven's judgment seat! (A bell strikes.)

One! Two! But light the lamp; let us not talk i' The hours crawl on; and when my hairs the dark. are white,

wish

He be not dead, although my wrongs
are great;
. . 'tis Orsino's step
Enter ORSINO.

Yet.

Speak!

And do we waste in blind misgivings thus The hours when we should act? Then wind and thunder,

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Which seemed to howl his knell, is the loud laughter

With which Heaven mocks our weakness! I henceforth

Orsino.
See, the lamp is out.
Giacomo.
remorse is ours
when the dim air

If no

Has drank this innocent flame, why should we quail

When Cenci's life, that light by which ill spirits

Tortured between just hate and vain My father's life: do you not think his

ghost

Might plead that argument with God?
Orsino.
Once gone
You cannot now recall your sister's
peace;

Your own extinguished years of youth
and hope;

Nor your wife's bitter words; nor all the taunts

See the worst deeds they prompt, shall
sink for ever?
No, I am hardened.

Orsino. Why, what need of this? Who feared the pale intrusion of remorse In a just deed? Altho' our first plan failed,

Doubt not but he will soon be laid to rest.

Giacomo (lighting the lamp). And yet once quenched I cannot thus relume

Which, from the prosperous, weak misfortune takes;

Nor your dead mother; nor . . .
Giacomo.
O, speak no more!
I am resolved, although this very hand
Must quench the life that animated it.
Orsino. There is no need of that.
Listen: you know

Olimpio, the castellan of Petrella
In old Colonna's time; him whom your
father

Degraded from his post? And Marzio,
That desperate wretch, whom he deprived
last year

Of a reward of blood, well earned and
due?
Giacomo. I knew Olimpio; and they
say he hated

Old Cenci so, that in his silent rage
His lips grew white only to see him pass.
Of Marzio I know nothing.
Orsino.
Marzio's hate
Matches Olimpio's. I have sent these
men,

But in your name, and as at your request,
To talk with Beatrice and Lucretia.
Only to talk?
The moments

Giacomo.
Orsino.

which even now Pass onward to to-morrow's midnight hour May memorise their flight with death: ere then

Listen! What

sound is that? Orsino. The house-dog moans, and the beams crack: nought else. Giacomo. It is my wife complaining in her sleep:

I doubt not she is saying bitter things Of me; and all my children round her dreaming

Cenci. She comes not; yet I left her even now

Vanquished and faint. She knows the penalty

of her delay: yet what if threats are vain ?

Am I not now within Petrella's moat? Or fear I still the eyes and ears of Rome? Might I not drag her by the golden hair? They must have talked, and may perhaps Stamp on her? Keep her sleepless till have done, And made an end.. Giacomo.

her brain

Be overworn? Tame her with chains and famine?

Less would suffice. Yet so to leave undone

What I most seek! No, 'tis her stubborn will

Which by its own consent shall stoop as low

That I deny them sustenance.

Orsino. Whilst he Who truly took it from them, and who fills

Orsino. Why, that were well. I
must be gone; good-night:

When next we meet-may all be done!
Giacomo.
And all
Forgotten: Oh, that I had never been!
[Exeunt.

END OF THE THIRD ACT.

Their hungry rest with bitterness, now
sleeps

Lapped in bad pleasures, and trium-
phantly
Mocks thee in visions of successful hate
Too like the truth of day.

Giacomo.
Again, I will not
hands...

ACT IV

SCENE I.-AN APARTMENT IN THE
CASTLE OF PETRELLA, Enter CENCI.

As that which drags it down.
Enter LUCRETIA.

Thou loathed wretch! Hide thee from my abhorrence; fly, begone!

Yet stay! Bid Beatrice come hither.
Lucretia.
Oh,
Husband! I pray for thine own wretched
sake

Heed what thou dost. A man who
walks like thee

Thro' crimes, and thro' the danger of If e'er he wakes his crimes, trust to hireling Each hour may stumble o'er a sudden

grave.

And thou art old; thy hairs are hoary gray;

As thou wouldst save thyself from death and hell,

One, two;

Pity thy daughter; give her to some Ay . . . Rocco and Cristofano my curse
friend
Strangled and Giacomo, I think, will
In marriage: so that she may tempt

thee not

To hatred, or worse thoughts, if worse

find

Life a worse Hell than that beyond the grave:

there be.

Beatrice shall, if there be skill in hate, Cenci. What! like her sister who Die in despair, blaspheming to Berhas found a home To mock my hate from with prosperity? Strange ruin shall destroy both her and

nardo,

thee

And all that yet remain. My death may be

Rapid, her destiny outspeeds it. Go, Bid her come hither, and before my mood

Be changed, lest I should drag her by

the hair.

Lucretia. She sent me to thee, husband. At thy presence

She fell, as thou dost know, into a

[A pause; LUCRETIA approaches anxiously, and then shrinks back as he speaks.

Why-such

things are...
No doubt divine revealings may be made.
'Tis plain I have been favoured from
above,

For when I cursed my sons they died.
-Ay... so...

...

As to the right or wrong that's talk . . .
repentance
Repentance is an easy moment's work
And more depends on God than me.
Well... well...

I must give up the greater point, which

was

To poison and corrupt her soul.

He is so innocent, I will bequeath
The memory of these deeds, and make
his youth

The sepulchre of hope, where evil thoughts

Shall grow like weeds on a neglected tomb.

When all is done, out in the wide
Campagna,

I will pile up my silver and my gold;
My costly robes, paintings and tapestries;
My parchments and all records of my
wealth,

trance;

And make a bonfire in my joy, and leave

which said,

And in that trance she heard a voice Of my possessions nothing but my name; Which shall be an inheritance to strip That done, My soul, which is a scourge, will I

"Cenci must die! Let him confess Its wearer bare as infamy.

himself!

resign

Even now the accusing Angel waits to hear

Into the hands of him who wielded it;

If God, to punish his enormous crimes, Be it for its own punishment or theirs, Harden his dying heart!"

Cenci.

He will not ask it of me till the lash
Be broken in its last and deepest wound;
Until its hate be all inflicted. Yet,
Lest death outspeed my purpose, let me
make

Short work and sure . . . [Going.
Lucretia. (Stops him.) Oh, stay!
It was a feint :

She had no vision, and she heard no
voice.

I said it but to awe thee.

Cenci.
That is well.
Vile palterer with the sacred truth of
God,

Be thy soul choked with that blasphem-
ing lie!

For Beatrice worse terrors are in store
To bend her to my will.
Lucretia.
Oh! to what will?
What cruel sufferings more than she has
known

Canst thou inflict?
Cenci.

Andrea! Go call my

daughter, And if she comes not tell her that I

come.

What sufferings? I will drag her, step
by step,

Thro' infamies unheard of among men :
She shall stand shelterless in the broad

Cenci. Go thou quick, Lucretia, Tell her to come; yet let her understand Her coming is consent: and say, more

pass, I will not."

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Must grant a parent's prayer against his child

noon

Of public scorn, for acts blazoned
abroad,
One among which shall be ... What?
Canst thou guess?

Be he who asks even what men call me.
Will not the deaths of her rebellious
brothers

Awe her before I speak? For I on them
She shall become (for what she most Did imprecate quick ruin, and it came.
abhors
Enter LUCRETIA.
Well; what? Speak, wretch!
Lucretia.

Shall have a fascination to entrap
Her loathing will) to her own conscious

self

She said,

""

"I cannot come; All she appears to others; and when Go tell my father that I see a torrent dead, Of his own blood raging between us.' Cenci (kneeling). God! Hear me ! If this most specious mass of flesh,

As she shall die unshrived and unforgiven,

Which thou hast made my daughter; this my blood,

A rebel to her father and her God, Her corpse shall be abandoned to the hounds; Her name shall be the terror of the This particle of my divided being; earth; Or rather, this my bane and my disease, Her spirit shall approach the throne of Whose sight infects and poisons me; God this devil Plague-spotted with my curses. I will Which sprung from me as from a hell, make

was meant

Body and soul a monstrous lump of ruin. To aught good use; if her bright loveli-
Enter ANDREA.

Andrea. The Lady Beatrice. ..
Cenci.
Speak, pale

ness

Was kindled to illumine this dark world;
If nursed by thy selectest dew of love
Such virtues blossom in her as should
make

slave! What Said she?

Andrea. My Lord, 'twas what she The peace of life, I pray thee for my looked; she said:

sake,

"Go tell my father that I see the gulf Of Hell between us two, which he may

As thou the common God and Father art

Of her, and me, and all; reverse that doom!

[Exit ANDREA.

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