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Draws to one point the threads of a just Orsino. Not SO;

accident doom,

might interpose So sanctifying it: what you devise To rescue him from what is now most sure; Is, as it were, accomplished.

And you are unprovided where to fly, Giacomo.

Is he dead ? | How to excuse or to conceal. Nay, Orsino. Ilis grave is ready. Know

listen: that since we met

All is contrived; success is so assured Cenci has done an outrage to his daughter. That . .. Giacomo. What outrage ?

Enter BEATRICE. Orsino,

That she speaks Beatrice. 'Tis my brother's voice ! not, but you may

You know me not? Conceive such half conjectures as I do, Giacomo. My sister, my lost sister! From her fixed paleness, and the lofty Beatrice,

Lost indeed ! grief

I see Orsino has talked with you, and Of her stern brow bent on the idle That you conjecture things too horrible air,

To speak, yet far less than the truth. And her severe unmodulated voice,

Now, stay not, Drowning both tenderness and dread; He might return: yet kiss me; I shall and last

know From this ; that whilst her step-mother | That then thou hast consented to his and I,

death. Bewildered in our horror, talked together Farewell, farewell ! Let piety to God, With obscure hints; both self-misunder- Brotherly love, justice and clemency, stood

And all things that make tender hardest And darkly guessing, stumbling, in our hearts talk,

Make thine hard, brother. Answer Over the truth, and yet to its revenge,

not ... farewell. She interrupted us, and with a look

[Excunt severally. Which told before she spoke it, he must die:

SCENE II.-A MEAN APARTMENT IN Giacomo. It is enough. My doubts

GIACOMO'S HOUSE. GIACOMO alone. are well appeased; There is a higher reason for the act Giacomo. 'Tis midnight, and Orsino Than mine; there is a holier judge than comes not yet. me,

[ Thunder, and the sound of a storm. A more unblamed avenger. Beatrice, What! can the everlasting elements Who in the gentleness of thy sweet Feel with a worm like man? If so the youth

shaft Hast never trodden on a worm, or bruised of mercy-winged lightning would not A living flower, but thou hast pitied it

fall With needless tears! Fair sister, thou On stones and trees. My wife and in whom

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

dreams : Did not destroy each other! Is there But I must wake, still doubting if that made

deed Ravage of thee? O, heart, I ask no more Be just which was most necessary. O, Justification ! Shall I wait, Orsino, Thou unreplenished lamp! whose narrow Till he return, and stab him at the door?

fire s


If no

Is shaken by the wind, and on whose And do we waste in blind misgivings thus edge

The hours when we should act ? Then Devouring darkness hovers! Thou small wind and thunder, flame,

Which seemed to howl his knell, is the Which, as a dying pulse rises and falls, loud laughter Still fickerest up and down, how very With which Heaven mocks our weaksoon,

ness! I henceforth 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

Orsino. See, the lamp is out. Even now, perhaps, the life that kindled Giacomo.

remorse is ours mine:

when the dim air But that no power can fill with vital oil Has drank this innocent flame, why That broken lamp of flesh. Ha! 'tis should we quail the blood

When Cenci's life, that light by which Which fed these vcins that ebbs till all ill spirits is cold :

See the worst deeds they prompt, shall It is the form that moulded mine that

sink for ever? sinks

No, I am hardened. Into the white and yellow spasms of Orsino. Why, what need of this ? death:

Who feared the pale intrusion of remorse It is the soul by which mine was arrayed In a just deed ? Altho' our first plan In God's immortal likeness which now

failed, stands

Doubt not but he will soon be laid to Naked before Heaven's judgment seat !

rest. (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,

Giacomo (lighting the lamp). And My son will then perhaps be waiting yet once quenched I cannot thus thus,

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

ghost Chiding the tardy messenger of news Might plead that argument with God? Like those which expect. I almost

Orsino. wish

You cannot now recall your sister's Ile be not dead, although my wrongs peace; are great ;

Your own extinguished years of youth Yet ... 'tis Orsino's step

and hope; Enter ORSINO.

Nor your wife's bitter words; nor all Speak!

the taunts Orsino.

I am come Which, from the prosperous, weak misTo say he has escaped.

fortune takes; Giacomo.

Escaped ! Nor your dead mother; nor . . .
And safe Giacomo.

O, speak no more ! Within Petrella. Ile past by the spot I am resolved, although this very hand Appointed for the deed an hour too soon. Must quench the life that animated it. Giacomo. Are we the fools of such Orsino. There is no need of that. contingencies ?

Listen : you know

remorse ;

Once gone last year

Olimpio, the castellan of Petrella

Orsino. Why, that were well.

I In old Colonna's time; him whom your must be gone; good-night: father

When next we meet-may all be done! Degraded from his post ? And Marzio, Giacomo.

And all That desperate wretch, whom he deprived Forgotten: Oh, that I had never been!

[Exeunt. Of a reward of blood, well earned and due?

END OF THE THIRD ACT. 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.


Marzio's hate

CASTLE OF PETRELLA, Enter CENCI, Matches Olimpio's. I have sent these men,

Cenci. She comes not; yet I left But in your name, and as at your request,

her even now To talk with Beatrice and Lucretia. Vanquished and faint. She knows the Giacomo. Only to talk?

penalty Orsino.

The moments of her delay: yet what if threats are which even now

vain ? Pass onward toto-morrow's midnight hour Am I not now within Petrella's moat ? May memorise their flight with death: Or fear I still the eyes and ears of Rome? ere then

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,

her brain And made an end

De overworn ? Tame her with chains Giacomo. Listen! What

and famine? sound is that?

Less would suffice. Yet so to leave Orsino, The house-dog moans, and

undone the beams crack : nought else. What I most seek! No, 'tis her stubGiacomo. It is my wife complaining

born will in her sleep:

Which by its own consent shall stoop I doubt not she is saying bitter things Of me; and all my children round her As that which drags it down. dreaming

Enter LUCRETIA. That I deny them sustenance.

Thou loathed wretch ! Orsino.

Whilst he Hide thee from my abhorrence ; fly, Who truly took it from them, and who begone! fills

Yet stay! Bid Beatrice come hither. Their hungry rest with bitterness, now Lucretia.

Oh, sleeps

IIusband! I pray for thine own wretched Lapped in bad pleasures, and trium

sake phantly

Heed what thou dost. A man who Mocks thee in visions of successful hate

walks like thee Too like the truth of day.

Thro' crimes, and thro' the danger of Giacomo. If e'er he wakes

his crimes, Again, I will not trust to lireling Each hour may stumble o'er a sudden hands. .


as low

may be

And thou art old; thy hairs are hoary [A pause ; LUCRETIA approaches gray;

anxiously, and then shrinks back As thou wouldst save thyself from death

as he speaks. 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

find thee not

Lise a worse Hell than that beyond the To hatred, or worse thoughts, if worse 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

nardo, To mock my hate from with prosperity ? He is so innocent, I will bequeath Strange ruin shall destroy both her and The memory of these deeds, and make thee

his youth And all that yet remain. My death The sepulchre of hope, where evil

thoughts Rapid, her destiny outspeeds it. . Go, Shall grow like weeds on a neglected Bid her come hither, and before my

tomb. mood

When all is done, out in the wide Be changed, lest I should drag her by Campagna, the hair.

I will pile up my silver and my gold; Lucretia. She sent me to thee, Mycostly robes, paintings and tapestries ; husband. At thy presence

My parchments and all records of my She fell, as thou dost know, into a wealth, trance ;

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 said,

Which shall be an inheritance to strip “ Cenci must die! Let him confess Its wearer bare as infamy. That done, himself!

My soul, which is a scourge, will I Even now the accusing Angel waits to resign hear

Into the hands of him who wielded it; If God, to punish his enormous crimes, Be it for its own punishment or theirs, Ilarden his dying heart!”

Ile will not ask it of me till the lash Cenci.

Why—such Be broken in its last and deepest wound; things are .

Until its hate be all inflicted. Yet, No doubt divine revealings may be made. Lest death outspeed my purpose, let me 'Tis plain I have been favoured from make above,

Short work and sure

[Going For when I cursed my sons they died. Lucretia. (Stops him.) Oh, stay! -Ay..

It was a feint : As to the right or wrong that's talk ... She had no vision, and she heard no repentance ...

voice. Repentance is an easy moment's work I said it but to awe thee. And more depends on God than me. Cenci, .

That is well. Well ... well ...

Vile palterer with the sacred truth of I must give up the greater point, which God,

Be thy soul choked with that blasphemTo poison and corrupt her soul.

ing lie!




For Beatrice worse terrors are in store Cenci. Go thou quick, Lucretia, To bend her to my will.

Tell her to come; yet let her understand Lucretia.

Oh! to what will ? | Her coming is consent: and say, more. What cruel sufferings more than she has

over, known

That if she come not I will curse her. Canst thou inflict ?

[Exit LUCRETIA. Cenei, . Andrea! Go call my

Ha! daughter,

With what but with a father's curse And if she comes not tell her that I

doth God come.

Panic-strike armed victory, and make What sufferings ? I will drag her, step pale by step,

Cities in their prosperity? The world's Thro' infamies unheard of among men :

Father She shall stand shelterless in the broad Must grant a parent's prayer against his

child Of public scorn, for acts blazoned Be he who asks even what men call me. abroad,

Will not the deaths of her rebellious One among which shall be ... What?

brothers Canst thou guess ?

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. Shall have a fascination to entrap Well; what? Speak, wretch ! Her loathing will) to her own conscious Lucretia.

She said, self

“ 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." As she shall die unshrived and un- Cenci (kneeling).

God ! forgiven,

Hear me! If this most specious mass A rebel to her father and her God,

of flesh, Her corpse shall be abandoned to the Which thou hast made my daughter ; hounds;

this my blood, 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 ... Was kindled to illumine this dark world; Cenci.

Speak, pale If nursed by thy selectest dew of love slave! What

Such virtues blossom in her as should Said she ?

make 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 As thou the common God and Father Or Hell between us two, which he may

art pass,

Of her, and me, and all; reverse that I will not." [Exit ANDREA.

doom !


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