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- The Duke of Gandia - 2/6 -


Duke?

Enter FRANCESCO

FRANCESCO

Wilt thou take mine office, Caesar mine? I heard thy laugh deride it. Mother, whence Comes that sweet gift of grace from dawn to dawn That daily shows thee sweeter?

CAESAR

Knowest thou none Lovelier?

VANNOZZA

My Caesar finds me not so fair. Thou art over fond, Francesco.

CAESAR

Nay, no whit. Our heavenly father on earth adores no less Our mother than our sister: and I hold His heart and eye, his spirit and his sense, Infallible.

Enter the POPE

ALEXANDER

Jest not with God. I heard A holy word, a hallowing epithet, Cardinal Caesar, trip across thy tongue Lightly.

CAESAR

Most holiest father, I desire Paternal absolution--when thy laugh Has waned from lip and eyelid.

ALEXANDER

Take it now, And Christ preserve thee, Caesar, as thou art, To serve him as I serve him. Rose of mine, My rose of roses, whence has fallen this dew That dims the sweetest eyes love ever lit With light that mocks the morning?

VANNOZZA

Nay, my lord, I know not--nay, I knew not if I wept.

ALEXANDER

Our sons and Christ's and Peter's whom we praise, Are they--are these--fallen out?

FRANCESCO

Not I with him, Nor he, I think, with me.

CAESAR

Forbid it, God! The God that set thee where thou art, and there Sustains thee, bids the love he kindles bind Brother to brother.

ALEXANDER

God or no God, man Must live and let man live--while one man's life Galls not another's. Fools and fiends are men Who play the fiend that is not. Why shouldst thou, Girt with the girdle of the church, and given Power to preside on spirit and flesh--or thou, Clothed with the glad world's glory--priest or prince, Turn on thy brother an evil eye, or deem Your father God hath dealt his doom amiss Toward either or toward any? Hath not Rome, Hath not the Lord Christ's kingdom, where his will Is done on earth, enough of all that man Thirsts, hungers, lusts for--pleasure, pride, and power - To sate you and to share between you? Whence Should she, the godless heathen's goddess once, Discord, heave up her hissing head again Between love's Christian children--love's? Hath God Cut short the thrill that glorifies the flesh, Chilled the sharp rapturous pang that burns the blood, Because an hundred even as twain at once Partake it? Boys, my boys, be wise, and rest, Whatever fire take hold upon your flesh, Whatever dream set all your life on fire, Friends.

CAESAR

Friends? Our father on earth, thy will be done.

FRANCESCO

Christ's body, Caesar! dost thou mock?

CAESAR

Not I. Hast thou fallen out with me, then, that thy tongue Disclaims its lingering utterance?

ALEXANDER

Now, by nought, As nought abides to swear by, folly seen So plain and heard so loud might well nigh make Wise men believe in even the devil and God. What ails you? Whence comes lightning in your eyes, With hissing hints of thunder on your lips? Fools! and the fools I thought to make for men Gods. Is it love or hate divides you--turns Tooth, fang, or claw, when time provides them prey, To nip, rip, rend each other?

CAESAR

Hate or love, Francesco?

FRANCESCO

Why, I hate thee not--thou knowest I hate thee not, my Caesar.

CAESAR

I believe Thou dost not hate or love or envy me; Even as I know, and knowing believe, we all - Our father, thou and I--triune in heart - Hold loveliest of all living things to love This.

Enter LUCREZIA

LUCREZIA

Mother! What do tears and thou for once Together? Rain in sunshine?

VANNOZZA

Ask thy sire, Am I not now the moon? Saint Anna bore Saint Mary Virgin--did not God prefer The child, and thrust behind with scarce a smile The mother?

ALEXANDER

Thrust not out thy thorns at heaven, Rose.

LUCREZIA

But what ailed her? And she will not say.

CAESAR

Sister, I sinned--sin must be mine. A word Fell out askance between us, and she wept Because our father chid us.

LUCREZIA

How should strife Find here a tongue to hiss with? Are not we, Brothers and sire and sister, sealed of God Lovers--made one in love?

ALEXANDER

Deride not God, Lucrezia.

LUCREZIA

Father, dost thou fear him, then?

ALEXANDER

I say not and I know not if I fear.

FRANCESCO


The Duke of Gandia - 2/6

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