Rienzi: The Last of the Roman Tribunes

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

"Alas! alas!" said the Signora, bitterly, "such have been the words of thousands of thy race. What have been their deeds? But I will trust thee, as I have trusted ever. I know that thou art covetous of honour, that thou hast youth's comely and bright ambition."

"I am an orphan and a bastard," said Angelo, bluntly! "And circumstance stings me sharply on to action; I would win my own name."

"Thou shalt," said the Signora. "We shall live yet to reward thee. And now be quick. Bring hither one of thy page's suits, -- mantle and head-gear. Quick, I say, and whisper not to a soul what I have asked of thee."


CHAPTER V
THE INMATE OF THE TOWER

The night slowly advanced, and in the highest chamber of that dark and rugged tower which fronted the windows of the Cesarini's palace sate a solitary prisoner. A single lamp burned before him on a table of stone, and threw its rays over an open Bible; and those stern but fantastic legends of the prowess of ancient Rome, which the genius of Livy has dignified into history.* A chain hung pendant from the vault of the tower, and confined the captive; but so as to leave his limbs at sufficient liberty to measure at will the greater part of the cell. Green and damp were the mighty stones of the walls, and through a narrow aperture,

____________________
*
"Avea libri assai, suo Tito Livio, sue storie di Roma, la Bibbia et altri libri assai, non finava di studiare." -- Vit. di Col. di Rienzi, lib. ii. cap. 13. See translation to motto to Book VII., p. 419.

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