By heav'n, I know not thirty heads in Venice
Should not be blasted; senators should rot 55 Like dogs on dunghills, but their wives and daughters Die of their own diseases. O for a curse
To kill with!
PIERRE. Daggers, daggers, are much better.
JAFF. But where are they?
PIERRE. Oh, a thousand
May be disposed in honest hands in Venice. 60
JAFF. Thou talk'st in clouds.
PIERRE. But yet a heart half wronged
As thine has been, would find the meaning, Jaffeir.
JAFF. A thousand daggers, all in honest hands,
And have not I a friend will stick one here?
PIERRE. Yes, if I thought thou were not to be cherished 65 To a nobler purpose, I'd be that friend.
But thou hast better friends -- friends whom thy
Have made thy friends -- friends worthy to be called so.
I'll trust thee with a secret: there are spirits
This hour at work. But as thou art a man 70 Whom I have picked and chosen from the world, Swear that thou wilt be true to what I utter;
And when I have told thee that which only gods
And men like gods are privy to, then swear
No chance or change shall wrest it from thy bosom. 75
JAFF. When thou wouldst bind me, is there need of oaths?
(Green-sickness girls lose maiden-heads with such
For thou art so near my heart that thou mayst see
Its bottom, sound its strength and firmness to thee.
Is coward, fool, or villain in my face? 80 If I seem none of these, I dare believe Thou wouldst not use me in a little cause,
For I am fit for honor's toughest task,
Nor ever yet found fooling was my province;
And for a villainous, inglorious enterprise, 85 I know thy heart so well, I dare lay mine Before thee, set it to what point thou wilt.
PIERRE. Nay, it's a cause thou wilt be fond of,
For it is founded on the noblest basis --
Our liberties, our natural inheritance. 90
There's no religion, no hypocrisy in't;
We'll do the business, and ne'er fast and pray for't;
Openly act a deed the world shall gaze
With wonder at, and envy when it is done.
JAFF. For liberty!
PIERRE. For liberty. my friend! 95 Thou shalt be freed from base Priuli's tyranny,
And thy sequestred fortunes healed again.
I shall be freed from opprobrious wrongs
That press me now and bend my spirit downward:
All Venice free, and every growing merit 100 Succeed to its just right: fools shall be pulled From wisdom's seat -- those baleful, unclean birds,
Those lazy owls, who (perched near fortune's top)
Sit only watchful with their heavy wings
To cuff down new-fledged virtues, that would rise 105 To nobler heights, and make the grove harmonious.
JAFF. What can I do?
PIERRE. Canst thou not kill a senator?
JAFF. Were there one wise or honest, I could kill him
For herding with that nest of fools and knaves.
By all my wrongs, thou talk'st as if revenge 110 Were to be had, and the brave story warms me.
PIERRE. Swear then!
JAFF. I do, by all those glittering stars
And yond great ruling planet of the night!
By all good pow'rs above, and ill below,
By love and friendship, dearer than my life. 115 No pow'r or death shall make me false to thee!
PIERRE. Here we embrace, and I'll unlock my heart.
A council's held hard by, where the destruction
Of this great empire's hatching: there I'll lead thee!
But be a man, for thou art to mix with men 120 Fit to disturb the peace of all the world, And rule it when it's wildest --
JAFF. I give thee thanks
For this kind warning. Yes, I will be a man,
And charge thee, Pierre, whene'er thou see'st my fears
Betray me less, to rip this heart of mine 125 Out of my breast, and show it for a coward's. Come, let's begone, for from this hour I chase
All little thoughts, all tender human follies
Out of my bosom. Vengeance shall have room --
PIERRE. And liberty!
JAFF. Revenge! Revenge -- 130
The scene changes to AQUILINA'S house, the Greek courtesan.
RENAULT. Why was my choice ambition the first ground A wretch can build on? It's indeed at distance____________________