MASK. It is the same that once adored the lady Zibo, and yielded her to Fiesco.
FIESCO. Scipio Bourgognino!
BOURG. (unmasking). And who now stands here to vindicate his honour, that yielded to a rival base enough to tyrannize over innocence.
FIESCO (embraces him with ardour). Noble youth! thanks to the sufferings of my consort, which have drawn forth the manly feelings of your soul; I admire your generous indignation--but I refuse your challenge.
BOURG. (stepping back). Does Fiesco tremble to encounter the first efforts of my sword?
FIESCO. No, Bourgognino! against a nation's power combined, I would boldly venture, but not against you. The fire of your valour is endeared to me by a most lovely object--the will deserves a laurel, but the deed would be childish.
BOURG. (with emotion). Childish, Count! women can only weep at injuries. 'Tis for men to revenge them.
FIESCO. Uncommonly well said--but fight I will not.
BOURG. (turning from him contemptuosly). Count, I shall despise you.
FIESCO (with animation). By heaven, youth, that thou shalt never do--not even if virtue fall in value, shall I become a bankrupt. (Taking him by the hand, with a look of earnestness.) Did you ever feel for me--what shall I say--respect?
BOURG. Had I not thought you were the first of men, I should not have yielded to you.
FIESCO. Then, my friend, be not so forward to despise a man, who once could merit your respect. It is not for the eye of the youthful artist to comprehend at once the master's vast design. Retire, Bourgognino, and take time to WEIGH the motives of Fiesco's conduct!
(Exit BOURGOGNINO, in silence
Go! noble youth! if spirits such as thine break out in flames, in thy country's cause, let the Dorias see that they stand fast!
FIESCO.--TheMOORentering with an appearance of timidity and looking round cautiously.
FIESCO (fixing his eye on him sharply) What wouldst thou here? Who art thou?