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- The Duke of Gandia - 3/6 -


Thou canst not. Father, were he terrible, How long wouldst thou live--thou, his mask on earth?

ALEXANDER

Boy, art thou all a child? What knew they more, The men that loved and feared and died for God, Than I and thou who know him not? We know This life is ours, and sweet, if shame and fear Make us not less than man: and less were they Who crawled and writhed and cowered and called on God To save them from him. Here I stand as he, God, or God's very figure wrought in flesh, More godlike than was Jesus. Dare I fear Whipping and hanging? Thou, my cardinal, Canst think not to be scourged and crucified - Ha?

CAESAR

Nay: there lurks no God in me. And thou, Father, dost thou fear?

ALEXANDER

I? Nought less than God. But if we take him lightly on our lips Too light his name will sound in all men's ears Till earth and air, when man says God, respond Laughter. Forbear him.

CAESAR

Wisdom lives in thee, And cries not out along the streets as when None of God's folk that heard regarded her, As all that hear thy word regard--or die, Being not outside God's eyeshot. Dost thou sleep Here in his special keeping--here--to-night, Brother?

FRANCESCO

What bids thee care to know?

CAESAR

They say These holy streets of heaven's most holiest choice Lie dangerous now in darkness if a man Walk not on holiest errands. Thou, they say, Wert scarce a Christlike sacrifice if slain. Too many dead flow down the Tiber's flow Nightly. They say it.

FRANCESCO

I never called thee yet Fool.

CAESAR

Ah, my lord and brother, didst thou now, Were this not thankless? God--our father's God - Guide thee! [Exit FRANCESCO. He goes, and thanks me not. Our sire, What says the God that lives upon thy lips And withers in thy silence?

LUCREZIA

Vex him not, Caesar. Thou seest he is weary.

ALEXANDER

Yea. Come ye With me. Bethink thee, Caesar. Vex me not.

Exeunt ALEXANDER, VANNOZZA, and LUCREZIA.

CAESAR

Thou wilt not bid me this, I think, again, Father.

Enter MICHELOTTO

Thou art swift of speed at need. I bade thee Abide my bidding.

MICHELOTTO

Till my lord were left Alone.

CAESAR

Thou knewest it?

MICHELOTTO

Where my lord may be And what beseems his thrall to know of him I were not worthy, knew I not, to know.

CAESAR

I do not ask thee where my brother sleeps. And where to-morrow sees him yet asleep -

MICHELOTTO

Ask of the fishers' nets on Tiber.

CAESAR

Nay - Not I but Rome shall ask it. Pass in peace. The benediction of my sire be thine. [Exeunt.

SCENE II

A narrow street opening on the Tiber

Enter MICHELOTTO and ASSASSINS

MICHELOTTO

Ye know the lordlier harlot's house--there?

FIRST ASSASSIN

Ay, Surely.

MICHELOTTO

The first whose foot comes forth is he.

SECOND ASSASSIN

How know we this?

MICHELOTTO

I know it. Ye need but slay. [Exit.

Enter FRANCESCO

FRANCESCO (singing)

Love and night are life and light; Sleep and wine and song Speed and slay the halting day Ere it live too long.

FIRST ASSASSIN

That shalt not thou. Sing, whosoe'er thou be, Thy next of songs to Satan. [They stab him.

FRANCESCO

Dogs! Ye dare? God! Pity me! God! [Dies.

SECOND ASSASSIN

God receive his soul! This was a Christian: many a man I have slain Died with all hell between his lips.

FIRST ASSASSIN

Be thine Dumb. Lift his feet as I the head.

SECOND ASSASSIN

A boy! And fair of face as angels

FIRST ASSASSIN

If the nets Snare not this fish betimes ere others feed, None that shall heave it airward for the sun To mock and mar shall say so. Bring him down. Tiber hath fed on choicer fare than we May think to feed his throat with ere we die. [Exeunt with the body.


The Duke of Gandia - 3/6

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