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Cenci has done an outrage to his daughter.
And darkly guessing, stumbling, in our talk,
Beatrice. 'Tis my brother's voice!
not, but you may
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
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
Make thine hard, brother. Answer
Over the truth, and yet to its revenge,
Giacomo. It is enough. My doubts
There is a higher reason for the act
Orsino. Not so; some accident
To rescue him from what is now most sure;
All is contrived; success is so assured
SCENE II.-A MEAN APARTMENT IN
[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
My wife and
A more unblamed avenger. Beatrice,
Hast never trodden on a worm, or bruised
Men wondered how such loveliness and They are now living in unmeaning wisdom dreams:
Did not destroy each other! Is there
Ravage of thee? O, heart, I ask no more
But I must wake, still doubting if that deed
Be just which was most necessary. O, Thou unreplenished lamp! whose narrow fire
Is shaken by the wind, and on whose
Which, as a dying pulse rises and falls,
Did I not feed thee, wouldst thou fail Will ne'er repent of aught designed or
As thou hadst never been! So wastes But my repentance. and sinks
Even now, perhaps, the life that kindled
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
Chiding the tardy messenger of news
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,
He be not dead, although my wrongs
And do we waste in blind misgivings thus The hours when we should act? Then wind and thunder,
Which seemed to howl his knell, is the loud laughter
With which Heaven mocks our weakness! I henceforth
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
Might plead that argument with God?
Your own extinguished years of youth
Nor your wife's bitter words; nor all the taunts
See the worst deeds they prompt, shall
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 . . .
Olimpio, the castellan of Petrella
Degraded from his post? And Marzio,
Of a reward of blood, well earned and
Old Cenci so, that in his silent rage
But in your name, and as at your request,
which even now Pass onward to to-morrow's midnight hour May memorise their flight with death: ere then
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.
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
When next we meet-may all be done!
END OF THE THIRD ACT.
Their hungry rest with bitterness, now
Lapped in bad pleasures, and trium-
SCENE I.-AN APARTMENT IN THE
As that which drags it down.
Thou loathed wretch! Hide thee from my abhorrence; fly, begone!
Yet stay! Bid Beatrice come hither.
Heed what thou dost. A man who
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
And thou art old; thy hairs are hoary gray;
As thou wouldst save thyself from death and hell,
Pity thy daughter; give her to some Ay . . . Rocco and Cristofano my curse
To hatred, or worse thoughts, if worse
Life a worse Hell than that beyond the grave:
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
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
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.
For when I cursed my sons they died.
As to the right or wrong that's talk . . .
I must give up the greater point, which
To poison and corrupt her soul.
He is so innocent, I will bequeath
The sepulchre of hope, where evil thoughts
Shall grow like weeds on a neglected tomb.
When all is done, out in the wide
I will pile up my silver and my gold;
And make a bonfire in my joy, and leave
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.
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!"
He will not ask it of me till the lash
Short work and sure . . . [Going.
She had no vision, and she heard no
I said it but to awe thee.
Be thy soul choked with that blasphem-
For Beatrice worse terrors are in store
Canst thou inflict?
Andrea! Go call my
daughter, And if she comes not tell her that I
What sufferings? I will drag her, step
Thro' infamies unheard of among men :
Cenci. Go thou quick, Lucretia, Tell her to come; yet let her understand Her coming is consent: and say, more
pass, I will not."
Must grant a parent's prayer against his child
Of public scorn, for acts blazoned
Be he who asks even what men call me.
Awe her before I speak? For I on them
Shall have a fascination to entrap
"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
Body and soul a monstrous lump of ruin. To aught good use; if her bright loveli-
Andrea. The Lady Beatrice. ..
Was kindled to illumine this dark world;
slave! What Said she?
Andrea. My Lord, 'twas what she The peace of life, I pray thee for my looked; she said:
"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!