The Complete Poetical Works of Lord Byron

By George Gordon Byron | Go to book overview

Invulnerable? That were pretty sport.
Think'st thou I beat for hares when lions roar? [ ARNOLDrushes into the combat.
Cœs. A precious sample of humanity!
Well, his blood's up; and if a little's shed,
'T will serve to curb his fever.

[ ARNOLDengages with a Roman, who retires towards a portico.

Arn. Yield thee, slave! 200

I promise quarter.

Rom. That's soon said.

Arn. And done -
My word is known.

Rom. So shall be my deeds.
[They re-engage. Cæsar comes forward.
Cœs. Why, Arnold! hold thine own: thou hast in hand
A famous artisan, a cunning sculptor;
Also a dealer in the sword and dagger.
Not so, my musqueteer; 't was he who slew
The Bourbon from the wall.

Arn. Ay, did he so?
Then he hath carved his monument.

Rom. I yet
May live to carve your betters'.
Cœs. Well said, my man of marble!

Benvenuto, 210
Thou hast some practice in both ways; and he
Who slays Cellini will have work'd as hard
As e'er thou didst upon Carrara's blocks.

[ ARNOLDdisarms and wounds CELLINI, but slightly: the latter draws a pistol, and fires; then retires, and disappears through the portico.

Cœs. How farest thou? Thou hast a taste, methinks,
Of red Bellona's banquet.

Arn.(staggers). 'Tis a scratch.
Lend me thy scarf. He shall not 'scape me thus.
Cœs. Where is it?

Arn. In the shoulder, not the sword arm -
And that's enough. I am thirsty: would
I had
A helm of water!
Cœs. That's a liquid now

In requisition, but by no means easiest 220
. To come at.

Arn. And my thirst increases -- but
I'll find a way to quench it.
Cœs. Or be quench'd
Thyself?

Arn. The chance is even; we will throw
The dice thereon. But I lose time in prat-ing;
Prithee be quick. [Cæsar binds on the scarf.
And what dost thou so idly?
Why dost not strike?
Cœs. Your old philosophers
Beheld mankind, as mere spectators of
The Olympic games. When I behold a prize
Worth wrestling for, I may be found a
Milo.

Arn. Ay, 'gainst an oak.
Cœs. A forest, when it suits me;

I combat with a mass, or not at all. 231
Meantime, pursue thy sport as I do mine;
Which is just now to gaze, since all these labourers
Will reap my harvest gratis.

Arn. Thou art still
A fiend!
Cœs. And thou -- a man.

Arn. Why, such I fain would show me.
Cœs. True -- as men are.

Arn. And what is that?
Cœs. Thou feelest and thou seest.
[Exit ARNOLD, joining in the combat which still continues between detached parties. The scene closes.


SCENE III

St. Peter's -- The Interior of the Church -- The Pope at the Altar -- Priests, etc. crowding in confusion, and Citizens flying for refuge, pursued by Soldiery.

Enter Cæsar.

A Spanish Soldier. Down with them, comrades! sieze upon those lamps!
Cleave yon bald-pated shaveling to the

chine! 239
His rosary's of gold!
Lutheran Soldier. Revenge! revenge!
Plunder hereafter, but for vengeance now -
Yonder stands Anti-Christ!
Cœs.(interposing). How now, schismatic?
What wouldst thou?
Luth. Sold. In the holy name of Christ,
Destroy proud Anti-Christ. I am a Chris-tian.
Cœs. Yea, a disciple that would make the founder
Of your belief renounce it, could he see
Such proselytes. But stint thyself to plunder.

Luth. Sold. I say he is the devil.
Cces. Hush! keep that secret,
Lest he should recognise you for his own.

-738-

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