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Who would not hymn so rare and rich a wedding ? ACT II.-SCENE I.
Who would not serve within the gorgeous palace,
Glorified by such strange and admired inmates ?
Such scurvy fellowship; howbeit, Lord Fazio
Must lacquey his new state with these base jackals. Serve ye Lord Fazio ?
Fair sir, you 'll honour me with your company.
(To Dandolo.) With his commands.
May I make bold, sir, with your state and title?
'Tis a brave gentleman! Tell him Signior Falsetto, and Philario,
Oh, my lord, by the falling of your robe, The most renowned Improvisatore,
Your cloth of gold one whole hair's-breadth too low, And Signior Dandolo, the court fashionist,
'Tis manifest you know not Signior Dandolo.
A pitiable lack of knowledge, sir !
That rules the swift revolving round of fashion;
Doth tell what hues do suit what height o' the sun ; FALSETTO.
When your spring pinks should banish from the court Most noble lord, most wonderful philosopher!
Your sober winter browns; when July heat We come to thank thee, sir, that thou dost honour
Doth authorize the gay and flaunting yellows; Our Florence with the sunlight of your fame.
The court thermometer, that doth command Thou that hast ravish'd nature of a secret
Your three-piled velvet abdicate its state That maketh thee her very paragon :
For the airy satins. Oh, my lord, you are too late, She can but create gold, and so canst thou :
At least three days, with your Venetian tissue.
I sorrow, sir, to merit your rebuke
On point so weighty.
Ay, signior, I'm paramount
In all affairs of boot, and spur, and hose ;
In matters of the robe and cap supreme;
In ruff disputes, my lord, there's no appeal
I fear me, such despotic rule and sway
Over the persons of our citizens
Must be of danger to our state of Florence. Man should be blind to his own merits, words
DANDOLO. Slide from my lips ; and I do mirror him
Good sooth, my lord, I am a very tyrant.
Why, if a senator should presume to wear
A cloak of fur in June, I should indict him
Guilty of leze-majesté against my kingship: A flatterer.
They call me Dandolo, the King of Fashions – FALSETTO.
The whole empire of dress is my dominion. Flatterer! Nay, the word 's grown gross. Why, if our Duke should wear an ill-grain'd colour An apt discourser upon things of honour,
Against my positive enactment, though Professor of art Panegyrical.
His state might shield him from the palpable shame "T were ill were I a hawk to see such bravery, Of a rebuke, yet, my good lord, opinion, And not a thrush to sing of it. Wealth, sir,
Public opinion, would hold Signior Dandolo
A Lycurgus !
your sword - thus, my lord — pointed out this Oh, my lord, 't is the curse and brand of poesy, way,
[Adjusting him. That it must trim its fetterless free plumes In an equilateral triangle. Nay,
To the gross fancies of the humoursome age; Nay, on my credit, my good lord, this hose
That it must stoop from its bold heights to court Is a fair woof. The ladies, sir, the ladies
Liquorish opinion, whose aye-wavering breath (For I foresee you 'll be a ruling planet),
Is to it as the precious air of life. Must not be taught any heretical fancies,
Oh, in a capering, chambering, wanton land, Fantastical infringements of my codes —
The lozel's song alone gains audience, Your lordship must give place to Signior Dandolo Fine loving ditties, sweet to sickliness; About their persons.
'The languishing and luscious touch alone,
Of all the full harp's ecstasies, can detain
The pall'd and pamper'd ear of Italy.
But, my lord, we have deeper mysteries
For the initiate Hark!-- it bursts! - it flows!
Song by Philario.
Rich and royal Italy!
Dominion's lofty bride!
Earth deem'd no loss of pride tasteful slipper is my soul's delight. Oh, I adore a robe that drops and floats
To be enslaved by thee. As it were lighter than the air around it;
From broad Euphrates' bank,
When the sun look'd through the gloom, I dote upon a stomacher to distraction, When the gay jewels, gracefully disposed,
Thy eagle's golden plume Make it a zone of stars: and then a fan,
His orient splendour drank;
And when at ere he set The elegant motion of a fan, is murder,
Far in the chamber'd west,
That bird of brilliance yet
Bathed in his gorgeous rest.
Sad and sunken Italy!
The plunderer's common prey !
When saw the eye of day To wed your honours to his harp. To hymn
So very a slave as thee? The finder of the philosophic stone,
Long, long a bloody stage The sovereign prince of alchymists ; 't would make
For petty kinglings tame, The cold verse-mechanist, the nice balancer
Their miserable game Of curious words and fair compacted phrases,
Of puny war to wage. Burst to a liquid and melodious flow,
Or from the northern star Rapturous and ravishing but in praise of thee!
Come haughty despots down, But I, my lord, that have the fluent vein,
With iron hand to share
Thy bruised and broken crown.
Fair and fervid Italy!
Lady of each gentler art, To trail its poisonous and obscure clusters:
Yet couldst thou lead the heart A poet's soul should bear a richer fruitage –
In mild captivity. The aconite grew not in Eden. Thou,
Warm Raphael's Virgin sprung That thou, with lips tipt with the fire of heaven,
To worship and to love, Th' excursive eye, that in its earth-wide range
The enamour'd air above Drinks in the grandeur and the loveliness
Rich clouds of music hung, That breathes along this high-wrought world of man;
Thy poets bold and free Thou hast within thee apprehensions strong
Did noble wrong to time, Of all that 's pure and passionless and heavenly
In their high rhymed majesty That thou, a vapid and a mawkish parasite,
Ravishing thy clime. Shouldst pipe to that witch Fortune's favourites! 'Tis coarse—'t is sickly 't is as though the eagle
Loose and languid Italy! Should spread his sail-broad wings to flap a dunghill;
Where now the magic pow'r As though a pale and withering pestilence
That in thy doleful hour Should ride the golden chariot of the sun;
Made a queen of thee? As one should use the language of the gods
The pencil cold and dead,
Whose lightest touch was life;
The old immortal strife
of thy high poets fled.
From her inglorious um
And why not, lady? She is exquisite,
Bashfully, humbly exquisite ; yet Florence
May be as proud of her, as of the richest,
That fire her with the lustre of their state.
And why not, lady?
Why! I know not why-
Oh your philosophy, 't is ever curious ;
To its inquisitorship. - We'll not think on 't:
It fell frorn me un'wares; words will start forth,
When the mind wanders. -Oh no, not because The Public Walks of Florence.
She's merely lovely :- but we'll think no more Fazio, FALSETTO, DANDOLO, PHILARIO.
Didst hear the act ?
Lady, what act ?
Of the great Duke of Florence and his Senate,
Entitled against turtle doves in poesy.
Henceforth that useful bird is interdict,
As the mild emblem of true constancy. You'll meet me anon in the Piazza.
[Exeunt all but Fazio. There 's a new word found ; 't is pure Tuscan too; Now, lofty woman, we are equal now,
Fazio's to fill the blank up, if it chime; And I will front thee in thy pitch of pride.
If not, Heaven help the rhymester.
FAZIO (apart.) Enter ALDABELLA. She speaks, after a salutation on with what an airy and a sparkling grace each side.
The language glances from her silken lips! Oh, thou and I, Sir, when we met of old,
Her once loved voice how exquisite it sounds, Were not so distant, nor so chill. My lord
E'en like a gentle music heard in childhood! I had forgot, my lord. You dawning signiors
ALDABELLA. Are jealous of your state; you great philosophers
Why yes, my lord, in these degenerate days Walk not on earth ; and we poor grovelling beings,
Constancy is so rare a virtue, angels If we would win your eminent regards,
Come down to gaze on 't: it makes the world proud. Must meet ye i' the air. Oh, it sits well
Who would be one o' the many? Why, our Florence This scorn, it looks so grave and reverend.
Will blaze with the miracle. "Tis true, 't is true,
The odour of the rose grows faint and sickly, Is scorn in Lady Aldabella's creed
And joys are finest by comparison. -
But what is that to the majestic pride
Of being the sole true phenix ?
Again, Treason again, a most irreverent laugh,
Gentle lady, A traitorous jest before so learn'd a sage:
Thou speak'st as if that smooth word constancy But I may joy in thy good fortune, Fazio.
Were harsh and brassy sounding in thy ears.
No, no, signior; your good old-fangled virtues
Have gloss enough for me, had it been my lot Nay, an thou hadst not dash'd so careless off
To be a miser's treasure: if his eyes My bounteous offering, I had said.
Ne'er open'd but on me, I ne'er had wept
At such a pleasant faithful avarice,
Lady, there was a time when I did dream
One not less precious than thy stately self, And is thy bride a jewel of the first water?
ALDABELLA. I know thou wilt say, ay; 't is an old tale,
Oh yes, my lord, oh yes; the tale did run Thy fond lip-revel on a lady's beauties :
That thou and I did love : so ran the tale. Methinks I've heard thee descant upon loveliness, That thou and I should have been wed - the tale Till the full ears were drunken with sweet sounds. Ran so, my lord. - Oh memory, memory, memory! But never let me see her, Fazio; never.
It is a bitter pleasure, but 't is pleasure.
And thou, thou snowy and unsociable virtue, A pleasure, lady!- why then cast me off
May'st lose no less a votaress from thy nunnery Like an indifferent weed ? - with icy scorn
Than the most beautiful proud Aldabella Why choke the blossom that but woo'd thy sunshine ? Had I been honest, 't were indeed to fall; ALDABELLA.
But now 't is but a step down the declivity. Ah, what an easy robe is scorn to wear!
Bianca! but Bianca! - bear me up, 'Tis but to wrinkle up the level brow,
Bear me up, in the trammels of thy fondness To arch the pliant eyelash, and freeze up
Bind thou my slippery soul. Wrong thee, Bianca ? The passionless and placid orb within
Nay, nay, that 's deep indeed; fatbomless deep Castelli! oh Castelli !
In the black pit of infamy and sin :
I am not so weary yet of the upper air.
Wrong thee, Bianca? No, not for the earth;
Not for earth's brightest, not for Aldabella. One, my good lord, I loved most fondly, fatally.
Then thou didst love? love, Aldabella, truly,
Palace of Fazio.
Fazio and Bianca.
Dost thou love me, Bianca?
BIANCA. For highest princes; and his honest flatteries
There's a question So pamper'd me, the fatal duteousness
For a philosopher! - Why, I've answer'd it
For two long years; and, oh, for many more,
Thou 'rt in the fashion, then. The court, Bianca, While the unseen heart is haggard wan with woo ? The ladies of the court, find me a fair gentleman ; FAZIO.
Ay, and a dangerous wit too, that smites smartly. Is it possible? And didst thou love me, lady? Though it be joy vain and unprofitable
And thou believest it all! As is the sunshine to a dead man's eyes,
FAZIO. Pleasureless from his impotence of pleasure ;
Why, if the gallants, Tell me and truly
The lordly and frank spirits of the time,
Troop around thee with gay rhymes on thy beauties,
Tinkling their smooth and amorous flatteries,
I shall not heed them; my poor beauty needs
Only one flatterer. Heaven, what a babbling traitor is the tongue !
FAZIO. Would not the air freeze up such sinful sound ?
Ay, but they 'll press on thee, Oh no, thou heard'st it not. Ah me! and thou, And force their music into thy deaf ears. I know, wilt surfeit the coarse common ear
Think ye, ye should be coy, and calm, and cold?
Oh, no! - I fear me a discourteous laugh
But if one trip upon your lip, or wind
Ye could endure it?
Fazio, thou wrong'st me Might draw a brazen statue from its pedestal, With such dishonest questionings. My lord, And make its yellow veins leap up with life. There's such an awe in virtue, it can make Fair Chastity, thou hast two juggling fiends
The anger of a sleek smooth brow like mine Caballing for thy jewel: one within,
Strike the hot libertine to dust before me. And that's a mild and melting devil, Love; He'd dare to dally with a fire in his hand, Th' other without, and that's a fair rich gentleman, Kiss ragged briars with his unholy lips, Giraldi Fazio: they 're knit in a league.
Ere with his rash assault altaint my honour.
Mine arms, mine arms, shall say the next “ shall not ;" But if ye see me by a noble lady,
I'll never startle more thy peevish ears, Whispering as though she were my shrine, whereon But I'll speak to thee with my positive lipe. I lay my odorous incense, and her beauty
(Kissing and clinging to him. Grow riper, richer at my cherishing praise ; If she lean on me with a fond round arm,
Oh, what a wild and wayward child am I!If her eye drink the light from out mine eyes, Like the hungry fool, that in his moody fit And if her lips drop sounds for my ear only; Dash'd from his lips his last delicious morsel. Thou 'lt arch thy moody brow, look at me gravely, I'll see her once, Bianca, and but once; With a pale anger on thy silent cheek.
And then a rich and breathing tale I'll tell her 'Tis out of keeping, 't is not the court fashion - of our full happiness. If she be angel, We must forego this clinging and the clasping; "T will be a gleam of Paradise to her, Be cold, and strange, and courteous to each other ; And she 'll smile at it one of those soft smiles,
" How doth my lord ?" How slept my That makes the air seem sunny, blithe, and balmy. lady ?"
If she be devil - Nay, but that's too ugly; As though we dwelt at opposite ends o' the city. The fancy doth rebel at it, and shrink
As from a serpent in a knot of flowers. What hath distemper'd thee ?- This is unnatural; Devil and Aldabella! - Fie!- They sound Thou couldst not talk thus in thy steadfast senses. Like nightingales and screech-owls heard together. Fazio, thou hast seen Aldabella!
What! must I still have tears to kiss away?
I will return - Good night! - It is but once.
See, thou 'st the taste o' my lips now at our parting; She is no basilisk - there's no death in her eyes. And when we meet again, if they be tainted,
Thou shalt-oh no, thou shalt not, canst not bate me. Ay, Fazio, but there is; and more than death
[Exeunt. A death beyond the grave
- a death of sin A howling, hideous, and eternal death Death the flesh shrinks from.- No, thou must not see her!
SCENE IV. Nay, I 'm imperative—thou 'rt mine, and shalt not.
Palace of ALDABELLA.
And I must hood him with a skilful hand:
Or Florence will turn rebel to my beauty.
Enter CLARA, Fazio behind.
ALDADELLA goes on.
What says my cousin, the kind Lady Abbess ?
She says, my lady, that to-morrow noon Howbeit, there is no blistering in their taste :
Noviciates are admitted ; but she wonders, There is no suffocation in those arms.
My Lady Abbess wonders, and I too
Wonder, my lady, what can make ye fancy Take heed; we are passionate ; our milk of love Those damp and dingy cloisters. Oh, my lady! Doth turn to worm wood, and that's bitter drinking. They 'll make ye cut off all this fine dark hair The fondest are most frenetic: where the fire Why, all the signiors in the court would quarrel, Burneth intensest, there the inmate pale
And cut each other's throats for a loose hair of it. Doth dread the broad and beaconing conflagration.
ALDABELLA. If that ye cast us to the winds, the winds
Ah me! what heeds it where I linger out
The remnant of my dark and despised life?
Oh, but, my lady,
I saw their dress: it was so coarse and hard-grain'd, There'll be a conflict strange and horrible,
I'm sure 't would fret your ladyship's soft skin Among all fearful and ill-visaged fiends,
Like thorns and brambles; and besides, the make For the blank void ; and their mad revel there
on 't! Will make me-oh, I know not what-hate thee! - A vine-dresser's wife at market looks more dainty. Oh, no! - I could not hate thee, Fazio : Nay, nay, my Fazio, 't is not come to that;
Then my tears will not stain it. Oh, 't is rich enough