Rienzi: The Last of the Roman Tribunes

By Edward Bulwer Lytton; L. W. Zeigler | Go to book overview

BOOK VII
THE PRISON

"Fu rinchiuso in una torre grossa e larga; avea libri assai, suo Tito Livio, sue storie di Roma, la Bibbia, &c. -- Vit. di Cola di Rienzi, lib. ii. c. 13.

"He was immured in a high and spacious tower; he had books enough, his Titus Livius, his histories of Rome, the Bible," &c.


CHAPTER I
AVIGNON. -- THE TWO PAGES. -- THE STRANGER BEAUTY

There is this difference between the Drama of Shakspeare, and that of almost every other master of the same art; that in the first, the catastrophe is rarely produced by one single cause -- one simple and continuous chain of events. Various and complicated agencies work out the final end. Unfettered by the rules of time and place, each time, each place depicted, presents us with its appropriate change of action, or of actors. Sometimes the interest seems to halt, to turn aside, to bring us unawares upon objects hitherto unnoticed, or upon qualities of the characters hitherto hinted at, not developed. But, in reality, the pause in the action is but to collect, to gather up, and to grasp, all the varieties of circumstance that conduce to the Great Result: and the art of fiction is only deserted for the fidelity of history. Whoever seeks to place before the world the true representation of a

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