The Complete Poetical Works of Lord Byron

By George Gordon Byron | Go to book overview

No less than he who was thy sovereign Six hours ago, and now thy brother rebel.

I. Ber. 'T is not the moment to consider

thus, 81
Else I could answer. -- Let us to the meet-ing,
Or we may be observed in lingering here.

Doge. We are observed, and have been.

I. Ber. We observed? Let me discover -- and this steel --

Doge. Put up; Here are no human witnesses; look there -- What see you?

I. Ber. Only a tall warrior's statue Bestriding a proud steed, in the dim light Of the dull moon.

Doge. That warrior was the sire

Of my sire's fathers, and that statue was 90
Decreed to him by the twice rescued city: --
Think you that he looks down on us, or no?

I. Ber. My lord, these are mere fantasies; there are

No eyes in marble.

Doge. But there are in Death.
I tell thee, man, there is a spirit in
Such things that acts and sees, unseen, though felt;
And, if there be a spell to stir the dead,
'T is in such deeds as we are now upon.
Deem'st thou the souls of such a race as mine
Can rest, when he, their last descendant

chief, 100
Stands plotting on the brink of their pure graves
With stung plebeians?

I. Ber. It had been as well To have ponder'd this before, -- ere you embark'd
In our great enterprise. Do you repent?

Doge. No, but I feel, and shall do to the last.
I cannot quench a glorious life at once,
Nor dwindle to the thing I now must be,
And take men's lives by stealth, without some pause.
Yet doubt me not; it is this very feeling,
And knowing what has wrung me to be

thus,110
Which is your best security. There's not
A roused mechanic in your busy plot
So wrong'd as I, so fall'n, so loudly call'd
To his redress: the very means I am forced
By these fell tyrants to adopt is such,
That I abhor them doubly for the deeds
Which I must do to pay them back for theirs.

I. Ber. Let us away -- hark -- the hour strikes.

Doge. On -- on -- It is our knell, or that of Venice -- On.

I. Ber. Say rather, 't is her freedom's

rising peal 120
Of triumph. This way -- we are near the place. [Exeunt.


SCENE II

The House where the Conspirators meet.

DAGOLINO, DORO, BERTRAM, FEDELE TREVISANO, CALENDARO, ANTONIO DELLE BENDE, ETC., ETC.

Cal. (entering). Are all here?

Dag. All with you; except the three On duty, and our leader Israel, Who is expected momently.

Cal. Where's Bertram Ber. Here!

Cal. Have you not been able to complete
The number wanting in your company?

Ber. I had markd out some: but I have not dared
To trust them with the secret, till assured That they were worthy faith.

Cal. There is no need
Of trusting to their faith: who, save our

selves 130
And our more chosen comrades, is aware
Fully of our intent? they think themselves
Engaged in secret to the Signory,
To punish some more dissolute young nobles
Who have defied the law in their excesses;
But once drawn up, and their new swords well-fiesh'd
In the rank hearts of the more odious sen-ators,
They will not hesitate to follow up
Their blow upon the others, when they see
The example of their chiefs, and I for one
Will set them such, that they for very
shame 141
And safety will not pause till all have perish'd.

Ber.How say you? all!

Cal. Whom wouldst thou spare?

Ber. I spare? I have no power to spare. I only ques-tion'd,
Thinking that even amongst these wicked men

-520-

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