The Court of the Ducal Palace: the outer gates are shut against the people. -- The DOGE enters in his ducal robes, in procession with the Council of Ten and other Patricians, attended by the Guards, till they arrive at the top of the Giants' Staircase' (where the Doges took the oaths) the Executioner is stationed there with his sword. -- On arriving, a Chief of the Ten takes off the ducal cap from the Doge's head.
Doge. So now the Doge is nothing, and
I am again Marino Faliero:
'T is well to be so, though but for a moment.
Here was I crown'd, and here, bear witness,
Heaven! 700 With how much more contentment I resign
That shining mockery, the ducal bauble,
Than I received the fatal ornament.
One of the Ten. Thou tremblest, Faliero! Doge. 'T is with age, then. Ben. Faliero! hast thou aught further to
Compatible with justice, to the senate? Doge. I would commend my nephew to their mercy,
My consort to their justice; for methinks My death, and such a death, might settle all Between the state and me.
Ben. They shall be cared for,
Even notwithstanding thine unheard-of
crime. 711Doge. Unheard of! ay, there's not a history
But shows a thousand crown'd conspirators
Against the people; but to set them free
One sovereign only died, and one is dying.
Ben. And who were they who fell in such a cause?
Doge. The King of Sparta, and the Doge of Venice --
Agis and Faliero!
Ben. Hast thou more
To utter or to do?
Doge. May I speak?
Ben. Thou may'st;
But recollect the people are without, 720 Beyond the compass of the human voice.
Doge. I speak to Time, and to Eternity
Of which I grow a portion, not to man.
Ye elements! in which to be resolved
I hasten, let my voice be as a spirit
Upon you! Ye blue waves, which bore my banner!
Ye winds, which flutter'd o'er as if you loved it,
And fill'd my swelling sails as they were wafted
'To many a triumph! Thou, my native earth,
Which I have bled for, and thou foreign
earth, 730 Which drank this willing blood from many a wound!
Ye stones, in which my gore will not sink, but
Reek up to Heaven! Ye skies, which will receive it!
Thou sun, which shinest on these things! and Thou
Who kindlest and who quenchest suns! --
I am not innocent -- but are these guiltless?
I perish, but not imavenged; far ages
Float up from the abyss of time to be,
And show these eyes, before they close, the
doom 739 Of this proud city, and I leave my curse
On her and hers for ever! -- Yes, the hours
Are silently engendering of the day,
When she, who built 'gainst Attila a bulwark,
Shall yield, and bloodlessly and basely yield,
Unto a bastard Attila, without
Shedding so much blood in her last defence
As these old veins, oft drain'd in shielding her,
Shall pour in sacrifice. -- She shall be bought
And sold, and be an appanage to those
Who shall despise her! -- She shall stoop
to be 750 A province for an empire, petty town
In lieu of capital, with slaves for senates,
Beggars for nobles, panders for a people!
Then when the Hebrew's in thy palaces,
The Hun in thy high places, and the Greek
Walks o'er thy mart, and smiles on it for his;
When thy patricians beg their bitter bread
In narrow streets, and in their shameful need
Make their nobility a plea for pity; 759 Then, when the few who still retain a wreck
Of their great fathers' heritage shall fawn
Round a barbarian Vice of Kings' Vice-gerent,
Even in the palace where they sway'd as sovereigns,
Even in the palace where they slew their sovereign,
Proud of some name they have disgraced, or sprung
From an adulteress boastful of her guilt
With some large gondolier or foreign sol-dier,
Shall bear about their bastardy in triumph
To the third spurious generation; -- when