A Hall in the Ducal Palace.
Enter LOREDANO and BARBARIGO.
Bar. And have you confidence in such a project?
Lor. I have.
Bar. 'T is hard upon his years.
Lor. Say rather
Kind to relieve him from the cares of state.
Bar. 'T will break his heart.
Lor. Age has no heart to break.
He has seen his son's half broken, and, except
A start of feeling in his dungeon, never
Bar. In his countenance, I grant you,
But I have seen him sometimes in a calm
So desolate, that the most clamorous grief
Had nought to envy him within. Where is
Lor. In his own portion of the palace,
His son and the whole race of Foscaris.
Bar. Bidding farewell?
Lor. A last. As soon he shall
Bid to his dukedom.
Bar. When embarks the son?
Lor. Forthwith -- when this long leave
is taken. 'T is
Time to admonish them again.
Retrench not from their moments.
Lor. Not I, now
We have higher business for our own.
Shall be the last of the old Doge's reign,
As the first of his son's last banishment, 20 And that is vengeance.
Bar. In my mind, too deep.
Lor. 'T is moderate -- not even life for
life, the rule
Denounced of retribution from all time;
They owe me still my father's and my uncle's.
Bar. Did not the Doge deny this strongly?
Bar. And did not this shake your suspicion?
Bar. But if this deposition should take
By our united influence in the Council,
It must be done with all the deference 29 Due to his years, his station, and his deeds.
Lor. As much of ceremony as you will,
So that the thing be done. You may, for aught
I care, depute the Council on their knees (Like Barbarossa to the Pope), to beg him
To have the courtesy to abdicate.
Bar. What, if he will not?
Lor. We'll elect another,
And make him null.
Bar. But will the laws uphold us?
Lor. What laws? -- 'The Ten'are laws;
and if they were not,
I will be legislator in this business. 39
Bar. At your own peril?
Lor. There is none, I tell you,
Our powers are such.
Bar. But he has twice already
Solicited permission to retire,
And twice it was refused.
Lor. The better reason
To grant it the third time.
Lor. It shows
The impression of his former instances:
If they were from his heart, he may be thankful:
If not, 't will punish his hypocrisy.
Come, they are met by this time; let us join them,
And be thou fix'd in purpose for this once.
I have prepared such arguments as will
not 50 Fail to move them, and to remove him.
Their thoughts, their objects, have been sounded, do not
You, with your wonted scruples, teach us pause,
And all will prosper.
Bar. Could I but be certain
This is no prelude to such persecution
Of the sire as has fallen upon the son,
I would support you.
Lor. He is safe, I tell you;
His fourscore years and five may linger on
As long as he can drag them: 't is his throne
Alone is aim'd at.
Bar. But discarded princes 60
Are seldom long of life.
Lor. And men of eighty
More seldom still.
Bar. And why not wait these few years?