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Nor will that absence be lamented by him,
When the world's paragon, my lovely Julia,
Shall greet his aged sight, and the Realto
Shall sound with admiration's loud acclaim.
Vicenti. But know you not what perils here await you,
Where Sforza, deadly foe to all your race,
Dominion holds, who would no more his daughter
Wed to your arms than would the crocodile
Lodge with the crested snake.
Gonzaga. Peril, however,
Must not be thought of, was the golden fleece
The guerdon of the slumberer ? what were beauty,
Did not encircling danger guard its charms ?
Vicenti. But tell me, has the beauteous princess yet
Consented to accompany your flight
To Venice, and become your consort there?
Gonzaga. She has not yet, but I have long intended
To move my suit with her to take that step;
And knowing, as she does, that from her father
To seek consent were madness, she will listen,
I have no doubt, unto my fond proposal :
To-night I have appointed for our meeting,
Within the garden of the palace, where
You must wait for me, then we will resolve
What measure to adopt.
Gonzaga. Delightful Julia ! fairest of thy sex!
And ever most sincere : what other lovers
Gain but by inroads and cold coquetry,
Thou hast at once bestow'd; pure as the snow,
Yet not so comfortless, still ever prompt to grant
What generous nobleness of heart may give;
Yet chaste as Dian's priestess : what can pay
Thy matchless bounty, or suffice to shew
Thy zeal and adoration ? be it mine
To strew for ever round thy lovely path
Life's sweetest roses, and defend thy form
From the rude gales that might perchance destroy it.
But now to Strozzi's palace, who hath bid me
To his carouşal; and from thence I go
With rapture and with transport to my love.
Scene III.-The Garden, as before described.—Moonlight.
Enter SFORZA and CONTARINO.
Sforza. This was the place ?
Contarino. It was, my Lord.
Sforza. Here will I wait until they come, as waits
The fierce impatient panther, he lurks
Behind the bush, and marks his prey approaching ;
And though with famine furious, still he keeps
His post conceal'd, and recks not of delay,
So that he gain his destin'd victim's blood,
To glut his ravenous hunger.
Contarino. Why these words,
Why do you harbour such a vengeful hate
'Gainst Foscari's cursed race ?
Sforza. I hate them allVenice, and Foscari, all.
Contarino. Why so, my Lord ?
Sforza. And dost thou ask, thou ask that foolish question ?
Hath he not overstepp'd me, gain'd my all ?
Did he not, when I woo'd Vittoria, tear
Her from my arms, and gain her as his bride?
And in the war when last we were engag'd,
Did he not tear the laurels from my brow,
To make a wreath for him? And can, I then,
Forgive him? Yea, I will have his blood,
And the blood of his son, dearer than his,
To glut my stern revenge.
Contarino. And can you purpose
So shallow a revenge, as to destroy
Gonzaga in the presence of his mistress ?
He has a friend with him, who will, no doubt,
Should he be missing, carry straight the news
Unto the Doge, who, to revenge his fall,
Will rouse his people, and create a war
Destructive to you both.
Sforza. No, Contarino,
That would be compensation small indeed,
For injuries so great. I will proceed,
Mole-like, in my revenge, and undermine
Their boasted happiness. Yes, Sir, my plan
Is sure : though I go inch by inch, yet, still,
When once it is accomplish'd, all will fall
Like the last consummation, when the world
Shall fall to ashes-crumble into dust.
Contarino. But hist, my Lord, their footsteps now approach :Let us conceal ourselves.
Enter Julia and IsabelLA.
Julia. How still is all the scene! See, where the moon
Illumes, with paly lustre, the bright sheen
Of verdant leaf and rosy blossoming,
Shedding a flood of day. Cynthia, hail !
Oh, how I love to view thy halcyon light!
Calmness itself is slow: to look at thee,
And think of deeds of bloodshed, were, methinks,
Impossible : so pure and virgin-fair
Is thy clear beam.
Isabella. To you, my honour'd Lady,
Such contemplations may be profitable,
But I feel nothing but the damp night-air,
And think of nothing but the midnight ruffian,
Who lurks to stab the lonesome passenger ;
But heaven protects us. Why delays so long
The Cavalier Gonzaga ?
Julia. Hark! I hear his tread.
Gonzaga. Wait, good Vicenti, until I return.
Health to thee, my sweet Julia ! Never bent
A Persian to his God with more devotion,
When he, new-born, ascends the firmament,
Than I to thee; nor ever did there come
A Dervise with more sanctity of love
To Mecca or Medina's holy shrine,
Than now comes thy Gonzaga.
Julia. Arise, my Lord,
Nor think that my affection glows less warmly;
If it were not that virgin modesty,
Did fill, with tyrant pow'r, a maiden's heart,
I could say something, too, of panting hope,
And anxious expectation, such as feels
The turtle, when her mate, awhile departing,
Leaves her to wait and weep for his return.
Gonzaga. How can I thank thee! Words to thy desert
Are weak and powerless as a tiny balance,
To weigh the vast and boundless universe,
Oh, for that hour, when holy marriage rites
Shall give a husband's title to my love!
Then let me now entreat thee to assent to
The plan which stern necessity compels:
To join my flight from hence without delay,
And leave a father whose relentless breast
Would cut our loves asunder, for the gay,
The gallant, and the gorgeous halls of Venice.
Julia. I love you much, I love my honour more!
What!-shall our loves become the common talk,
The theme of conversation ? Men will cry,
Where'er I go, “ that is the recreant child,
Who left her father for her paramour."
Gonzaga. Dear Julia, say not so; and do not tlıwart
A lover's hopes: let Capid claim his empire,
O'er youthful vows and wishes.
I have a story for you:--there was once,
Some hundred years ago, as legends tell,
A Prince, who dwelt in Mantua--by chance,
Viewing the works of a skill'd painter, he
Beheld a picture fairer than the host
Of sculptur'd Grecian forms—more beautiful
Than those bright Phidias design’d, or the bold hand
Of great Apelles drew.-Its beauty struck him,
And straight he sought to learn the name and rank
Of the fair maid for
whom it was design'd ;
And, having learnt them, found she was the child
Of his sire's direst foe. In the mean garb
Of a poor courtier, then, he sought her court,
And won her love, and
Julia. And what, Gonzaga,
What did he do!
Gonzaga. He fell, my dearest Love,
Fell at her feet, and told her all-but she,
When that she found she had bestow'd her heart,
As she thought, on her enemy; rose up,
And bade him never, on his life, presume
Approach her presence more. The youth, abash'd
Stood like a statue, rooted to the ground.
Fir'd, then, by dire astonishment, he spoke,
Alas, but once!
Then, all his grief rush'd on him like the tide,
The foaming tide : his heart could bear no more.
As the swift eagle cleaves the vaulted skies,
He hurried onwards-darted to the brink
Of a steep precipice, down whose rugged side
He frantic cast himself, and headlong fell
Into eternal night!
Julia. Poor soul! He was
Beautiful, no doubt.
Gonzaga. I cannot
Love. Julia. But, ah! how cruel was that fair who could See such a lover perish!
Gonzaga. Do you think so ?
Julia. Ido, indeed !
Gonzaga. Then, Julia, lo! That man,
That man now stands before you! I am he!
Julia. Impossible !
Gonzaga. Yet it is true, by heaven!
I am the son of Foscari.
Gonzaga. Yes, I am he, my Julia ! It is he
Whom your stern father hates, as he hates death.
Now, then, pronounce my doom !-Away with me
To Venice, and my father...-But, if not,
This is the last, the last sad night that we
Shall ever meet together!
Julia. Oh, Gonzaga !
Rack me not thus !---I will not yield to you!
"Twere better, far, that we should ever part,
Than wed against a father's stern decree.
Gonzaga. Farewell; then, Julia !-) have lov'd you well!
Better than ever woman was belov'd
Before by man. Now, beauty, hear my last,
My last request.
When you shall hear of poor Gonzaga's death,
Refuse not one sad tributary tear.
I can no more-one kiss, and then farewell;
Farewell for ever, love (Going.)
Julia. Hold, tempter, hold !
Julia is thine ; her tender heart would burst
To see thy wretchedness. All must give way to love,
He is a powerful tyrant, who possesses
Dreadful supremacy o'er all our hearts,
Gonzaga. Thanks, love, ten thousand thanks, for thy kind speech;
I would reward you, if 'twere possible:
Yet how can I reward you: as the last,
The dear proof of love let me beseech you,
When the white mists arising from the ground,
And the first golden beams of Phæbus' ray
Announce approaching morn, and when the lark
Sings his gay carol to the pale blue sky,
Expect Gonzaga, and a faithful friend,
With two fleet steeds, to bear you hence away
Unto his father's court.
Julia. I know not what. Must it be so, Gonzaga ?
Gonzaga. It must, indeed;
We have but that resource.
Julia. Ha! how my heart
Throbs in my bosom---this is the first act
Of disobedience that I've ever shewn
In word or deed unto the duke, my sire,
But if it must be so, no matter.
By the grey mantle
of the morning shrouded, We'll quit Milan-Do you consent?
Julia. I do.
Gonzaga. Till then auspicious fates attend you.
[Exeunt Julia, ISABELLA, and Gonzaga.
SPORZA and CONTARINO advance.
Sforza. My breast boils out with fury; can it be ? My daughter, like some courtezan, has giv'n
Herself unto the first who woo'd her.--are my ears
And all my hopes reduced to this ?
Unworthy strumpet--Now thou art become
As something alien to the line of Sforza.
you will stop this assignation, prince. Will you allow your daughter thus to leave you ?
Sforza. Yes, my good friend, for I have cast her off ;
And now to me she's nothing, let her go
Where love and lust persuade her, I will follow
Immediately to Venice, where I'll weave
My nets of fell destruction for the race
To which she's linked herself--and not a scion
Shall of that stem survive to tell the tale
Of my dark, deep, and terrible
revenge Say not a word--Contarino. My lord, I am obedient. (Exeunt separately.
END OF Act I.
In Grosvenor-square, not long ago,
I went by invitation,
To a kind of intellectual show,
A rout for conversation.
Shells, fossils, books, the last new piece,
Are scatter'd round the room ;
While statues, bearing lamps from Greece,
The classic dome illume.
Women of genius, men of sense,
Among the guests appear; Wit, fancy, learning, eloquence,
Are found concentred here.
Who is that lady? What a throng
Her every step attend, see !
What buzzing, laughing, what a tongue !
From such a wife defend me!
Of wit refin'd, of talents rare,
So wond'rous clever reckon'd;
In compliment, the talking fair
Is call’d, De Stael the Second.
And who comes here so full of grace,
With step so fairy light?
What eyes, what hair! Gods, what a face!
Her teeth how pearly white !
Presto!-A host of swains are seen
Obsequious at her side;
And the heart's homage, mind, and mien,
Now equally divide.
An hour scarce past, lo! dazzling wit
I see left sad and lone,
And radiant Beauty pouting sit
On a deserted throne.
What fascination's this, what spell
Draws all the crowd out yonder;
Who is this new, attractive belle ?
I ask in eager wonder. “She doesn't seem pretty, young she's not”—
Our host turns fiercely round, " Why, zounds! sir, don't you know she's got
A hundred thousand pounds ?"