The Cenci: A Tragedy in Five Acts.
COUNT FRANCESCO CENCI.
GIACOMO, BERNARDO, his Sons.
ORSINO, a Prelate.
SAVELLA, the Pope's Legate.
OLIMPIO, MARZIO, Assassins.
ANDREA, Servant to CENCI.
NOBLES. JUDGES. GUARDS, SERVANTS.
LUCRETIA, Wife of CENCI and Stepmother of his children.
BEATRICE, his Daughter.
The SCENE lies principally in Rome, but changes during the fourth
Act to Pretrella, a castle among the Apulian Apennines.
TIME. During the Pontificate of Clement VIII.
SCENE I.--An Apartment in ORSINO'S Palace. Enter ORSINO and GIACOMO.
Do evil deeds thus quickly come to end?
Oh, that the vain remorse which must chastise
Crimes done had but as loud a voice to warn
As its keen sting is mortal to avenge!
Oh, that the hour when present had cast off
The mantle of its mystery, and shown
The ghastly form with which it now returns
When its scared game is roused, cheering the hounds
Of conscience to their prey! Alas, alas!
It was a wicked thought, a piteous deed, 10
To kill an old and hoary-headed father.
It has turned out unluckily, in truth.
To violate the sacred doors of sleep;
To cheat kind nature of the placid death
Which she prepares for overwearied age;
To drag from Heaven an unrepentant soul,
Which might have quenched in reconciling prayers
A life of burning crimes--
You cannot say
I urged you to the deed.
Oh, had I never
Found in thy smooth and ready countenance 20
The mirror of my darkest thoughts; hadst thou
Never with hints and questions made me look
Upon the monster of my thought, until
It grew familiar to desire--
'T is thus
Men cast the blame of their unprosperous acts
Upon the abettors of their own resolve;
Or anything but their weak, guilty selves.
And yet, confess the truth, it is the peril
In which you stand that gives you this pale sickness
Of penitence; confess 't is fear disguised 30
From its own shame that takes the mantle now
Of thin remorse. What if we yet were safe?
How can that be? Already Beatrice,
Lucretia and the murderer are in prison.
I doubt not officers are, whilst we speak,
Sent to arrest us.
I have all prepared
For instant flight. We can escape even now,
So we take fleet occasion by the hair.
Rather expire in tortures, as I may.
What! will you cast by self-accusing flight 40
Assured conviction upon Beatrice?
She who alone, in this unnatural work
Stands like God's angel ministered upon
By fiends; avenging such a nameless wrong
As turns black parricide to piety;
Whilst we for basest ends--I fear, Orsino,
While I consider all your words and looks,
Comparing them with your proposal now,
That you must be a villain. For what end
Could you engage in such a perilous crime, 50
Training me on with hints, and signs, and smiles,
Even to this gulf? Thou art no liar? No,
Thou art a lie! Traitor and murderer!
Coward and slave! But no--defend thyself;
Let the sword speak what the indignant tongue
Disdains to brand thee with.
Put up your weapon.
Is it the desperation of your fear
Makes you thus rash and sudden with a friend,
Now ruined for your sake? If honest anger
Have moved you, know, that what I just proposed 60
Was but to try you. As for me, I think
Thankless affection led me to this point,
From which, if my firm temper could repent,
I cannot now recede. Even whilst we speak,
The ministers of justice wait below;
They grant me these brief moments. Now, if you
Have any word of melancholy comfort
To speak to your pale wife, 't were best to pass
Out at the postern, and avoid them so.
O generous friend! how canst thou pardon me? 70
Would that my life could purchase thine!
Now comes a day too late. Haste; fare thee well!
Hear'st thou not steps along the corridor?
I 'm sorry for it; but the guards are waiting
At his own gate, and such was my contrivance
That I might rid me both of him and them.
I thought to act a solemn comedy
Upon the painted scene of this new world,
And to attain my own peculiar ends
By some such plot of mingled good and ill 80
As others weave; but there arose a Power
Which grasped and snapped the threads of my device,
And turned it to a net of ruin--Ha!
(A shout is heard)
Is that my name I hear proclaimed abroad?
But I will pass, wrapped in a vile disguise,
Rags on my back and a false innocence
Upon my face, through the misdeeming crowd,
Which judges by what seems. 'T is easy then,
For a new name and for a country new,
And a new life fashioned on old desires, 90
To change the honors of abandoned Rome.
And these must be the masks of that within,
Which must remain unaltered.--Oh, I fear
That what is past will never let me rest!
Why, when none else is conscious, but myself,
Of my misdeeds, should my own heart's contempt
Trouble me? Have I not the power to fly
My own reproaches? Shall I be the slave
Of--what? A word? which those of this false world
Employ against each other, not themselves, 100
As men wear daggers not for self-offence.
But if I am mistaken, where shall I
Find the disguise to hide me from myself,
As now I skulk from every other eye?
SCENE II.--A Hall of Justice. CAMILLO, JUDGES, etc., are discovered seated; MARZIO is led in.
Accused, do you persist in your denial?
I ask you, are you innocent, or guilty?
I demand who were the participators
In your offence. Speak truth, and the whole truth.
My God! I did not kill him; I know nothing;
Olimpio sold the robe to me from which
You would infer my guilt.
Away with him!
Dare you, with lips yet white from the rack's kiss,
Speak false? Is it so soft a questioner
That you would bandy lover's talk with it, 10
Till it wind out your life and soul? Away!
Spare me! Oh, spare! I will confess.
I strangled him in his sleep.
Who urged you to it?
His own son Giacomo and the young prelate
Orsino sent me to Petrella; there
The ladies Beatrice and Lucretia
Tempted me with a thousand crowns, and I
And my companion forthwith murdered him.
Now let me die.
This sounds as bad as truth.
Guards, there, lead forth the prisoners.
Enter LUCRETIA, BEATRICE and GIACOMO, guarded
Look upon this man; 20
When did you see him last?
We never saw him.
You know me too well, Lady Beatrice.
I know thee! how? where? when?
You know 't was I
Whom you did urge with menaces and bribes
To kill your father. When the thing was done,
You clothed me in a robe of woven gold,
And bade me thrive; how I have thriven, you see.
You, my Lord Giacomo, Lady Lucretia,
You know that what I speak is true.
[BEATRICE advances towards him; he covers his face, and shrinks back.
The terrible resentment of those eyes 30
On the dead earth! Turn them away from me!
They wound; 't was torture forced the truth. My Lords,
Having said this, let me be led to death.
Poor wretch, I pity thee; yet stay awhile.
Guards, lead him not away.
You have a good repute for gentleness
And wisdom; can it be that you sit here
To countenance a wicked farce like this?
When some obscure and trembling slave is dragged
From sufferings which might shake the sternest heart 40
And bade to answer, not as he believes,
But as those may suspect or do desire
Whose questions thence suggest their own reply;
And that in peril of such hideous torments
As merciful God spares even the damned. Speak now
The thing you surely know, which is, that you,
If your fine frame were stretched upon that wheel,
And you were told, 'Confess that you did poison
Your little nephew; that fair blue-eyed child
Who was the lodestar of your life;' and though 50
All see, since his most swift and piteous death,
That day and night, and heaven and earth, and time,
And all the things hoped for or done therein,
Are changed to you, through your exceeding grief,
Yet you would say, 'I confess anything,'
And beg from your tormentors, like that slave,
The refuge of dishonorable death.
I pray thee, Cardinal, that thou assert
CAMILLO (much moved)
What shall we think, my Lords?
Shame on these tears! I thought the heart was frozen 60
Which is their fountain. I would pledge my soul
That she is guiltless.
Yet she must be tortured.
I would as soon have tortured mine own nephew
(If he now lived, he would be just her age;
His hair, too, was her color, and his eyes
Like hers in shape, but blue and not so deep)
As that most perfect image of God's love
That ever came sorrowing upon the earth.
She is as pure as speechless infancy!
Well, be her purity on your head, my Lord, 70
If you forbid the rack. His Holiness
Enjoined us to pursue this monstrous crime
By the severest forms of law; nay, even
To stretch a point against the criminals.
The prisoners stand accused of parricide
Upon such evidence as justifies
What evidence? This man's?
BEATRICE (to MARZIO)
Come near. And who art thou, thus chosen forth
Out of the multitude of living men,
To kill the innocent?
I am Marzio, 80
Thy father's vassal.
Fix thine eyes on mine;
Answer to what I ask.
(Turning to the Judges)
I prithee mark
His countenance; unlike bold calumny,
Which sometimes dares not speak the thing it looks,
He dares not look the thing he speaks, but bends
His gaze on the blind earth.
What! wilt thou say
That I did murder my own father?
Spare me! My brain swims round--I cannot speak--
It was that horrid torture forced the truth.
Take me away! Let her not look on me! 90
I am a guilty miserable wretch!
I have said all I know; now, let me die!
My Lords, if by my nature I had been
So stern as to have planned the crime alleged,
Which your suspicions dictate to this slave
And the rack makes him utter, do you think
I should have left this two-edged instrument
Of my misdeed; this man, this bloody knife,
With my own name engraven on the heft,
Lying unsheathed amid a world of foes, 100
For my own death? that with such horrible need
For deepest silence I should have neglected
So trivial a precaution as the making
His tomb the keeper of a secret written
On a thief's memory? What is his poor life?
What are a thousand lives? A parricide
Had trampled them like dust; and see, he lives!
(Turning to MARZIO)
Oh, spare me! Speak to me no more!
That stern yet piteous look, those solemn tones,
Wound worse than torture.
(To the Judges)
I have told it all; 110
For pity's sake lead me away to death.
Guards, lead him nearer the Lady Beatrice;
He shrinks from her regard like autumn's leaf
From the keen breath of the serenest north.
O thou who tremblest on the giddy verge
Of life and death, pause ere thou answerest me;
So mayst thou answer God with less dismay.
What evil have we done thee? I, alas!
Have lived but on this earth a few sad years,
And so my lot was ordered that a father 120
First turned the moments of awakening life
To drops, each poisoning youth's sweet hope; and then
Stabbed with one blow my everlasting soul,
And my untainted fame; and even that peace
Which sleeps within the core of the heart's heart.
But the wound was not mortal; so my hate
Became the only worship I could lift
To our great Father, who in pity and love
Armed thee, as thou dost say, to cut him off;
And thus his wrong becomes my accusation. 130
And art thou the accuser? If thou hopest
Mercy in heaven, show justice upon earth;
Worse than a bloody hand is a hard heart.
If thou hast done murders, made thy life's path
Over the trampled laws of God and man,
Rush not before thy Judge, and say: 'My Maker,
I have done this and more; for there was one
Who was most pure and innocent on earth;
And because she endured what never any,
Guilty or innocent, endured before, 140
Because her wrongs could not be told, nor thought,
Because thy hand at length did rescue her,
I with my words killed her and all her kin.'
Think, I adjure you, what it is to slay
The reverence living in the minds of men
Towards our ancient house and stainless fame!
Think what it is to strangle infant pity,
Cradled in the belief of guileless looks,
Till it become a crime to suffer. Think
What 't is to blot with infamy and blood 150
All that which shows like innocence, and is--
Hear me, great God!--I swear, most innocent;
So that the world lose all discrimination
Between the sly, fierce, wild regard of guilt,
And that which now compels thee to reply
To what I ask: Am I, or am I not
Thou art not!
What is this?
I here declare those whom I did accuse
Are innocent. 'T is I alone am guilty.
Drag him away to torments; let them be 160
Subtle and long drawn out, to tear the folds
Of the heart's inmost cell. Unbind him not
Till he confess.
Torture me as ye will;
A keener pang has wrung a higher truth
From my last breath. She is most innocent!
Bloodhounds, not men, glut yourselves well with me!
I will not give you that fine piece of nature
To rend and ruin.
[Exit MARZIO, guarded.
What say ye now, my Lords?
Let tortures strain the truth till it be white
As snow thrice-sifted by the frozen wind. 170
Yet stained with blood.
JUDGE (to BEATRICE)
Know you this paper, Lady?
Entrap me not with questions. Who stands here
As my accuser? Ha! wilt thou be he,
Who art my judge? Accuser, witness, judge,
What, all in one? Here is Orsino's name;
Where is Orsino? Let his eye meet mine.
What means this scrawl? Alas! ye know not what.
And therefore on the chance that it may be
Some evil, will ye kill us?
Enter an Officer
Marzio 's dead.
What did he say?
Nothing. As soon as we 180
Had bound him on the wheel, he smiled on us,
As one who baffles a deep adversary;
And holding his breath died.
There remains nothing
But to apply the question to those prisoners
Who yet remain stubborn.
Further proceedings, and in the behalf
Of these most innocent and noble persons
Will use my interest with the Holy Father.
Let the Pope's pleasure then be done. Meanwhile
Conduct these culprits each to separate cells; 190
And be the engines ready; for this night,
If the Pope's resolution be as grave,
Pious, and just as once, I 'll wring the truth
Out of those nerves and sinews, groan by groan.
SCENE III.--The Cell of a Prison. BEATRICE is discovered asleep on a couch.
How gently slumber rests upon her face,
Like the last thoughts of some day sweetly spent,
Closing in night and dreams, and so prolonged.
After such torments as she bore last night,
How light and soft her breathing comes. Ay me!
Methinks that I shall never sleep again.
But I must shake the heavenly dew of rest
From this sweet folded flower, thus--wake, awake!
What, sister, canst thou sleep?
I was just dreaming
That we were all in Paradise. Thou knowest 10
This cell seems like a kind of Paradise
After our father's presence.
Dear, dear sister,
Would that thy dream were not a dream! Oh, God,
How shall I tell?
What wouldst thou tell, sweet brother?
Look not so calm and happy, or even whilst
I stand considering what I have to say,
My heart will break.
See now, thou mak'st me weep;
How very friendless thou wouldst be, dear child,
If I were dead. Say what thou hast to say.
They have confessed; they could endure no more 20
Ha! what was there to confess?
They must have told some weak and wicked lie
To flatter their tormentors. Have they said
That they were guilty? O white innocence,
That thou shouldst wear the mask of guilt to hide
Thine awful and serenest countenance
From those who know thee not!
Enter JUDGE, with LUCRETIA and GIACOMO, guarded
For some brief spasms of pain, which are at least
As mortal as the limbs through which they pass,
Are centuries of high splendor laid in dust? 30
And that eternal honor, which should live
Sunlike, above the reek of mortal fame,
Changed to a mockery and a byword? What!
Will you give up these bodies to be dragged
At horses' heels, so that our hair should sweep
The footsteps of the vain and senseless crowd,
Who, that they may make our calamity
Their worship and their spectacle, will leave
The churches and the theatres as void
As their own hearts? Shall the light multitude 40
Fling, at their choice, curses or faded pity,
Sad funeral flowers to deck a living corpse,
Upon us as we pass to pass away,
And leave--what memory of our having been?
Infamy, blood, terror, despair? O thou
Who wert a mother to the parentless,
Kill not thy child! let not her wrongs kill thee!
Brother, lie down with me upon the rack,
And let us each be silent as a corpse;
It soon will be as soft as any grave. 50
'T is but the falsehood it can wring from fear
Makes the rack cruel.
They will tear the truth
Even from thee at last, those cruel pains;
For pity's sake say thou art guilty now.
Oh, speak the truth! Let us all quickly die;
And after death, God is our judge, not they;
He will have mercy on us.
It can be true, say so, dear sister mine;
And then the Pope will surely pardon you,
And all be well.
Confess, or I will warp 60
Your limbs with such keen tortures--
The rack henceforth into a spinning-wheel!
Torture your dog, that he may tell when last
He lapped the blood his master shed--not me!
My pangs are of the mind, and of the heart,
And of the soul; ay, of the inmost soul,
Which weeps within tears as of burning gall
To see, in this ill world where none are true,
My kindred false to their deserted selves;
And with considering all the wretched life 70
Which I have lived, and its now wretched end;
And the small justice shown by Heaven and Earth
To me or mine; and what a tyrant thou art,
And what slaves these; and what a world we make,
The oppressor and the oppressed--such pangs compel
My answer. What is it thou wouldst with me?
Art thou not guilty of thy father's death?
Or wilt thou rather tax high-judging God
That he permitted such an act as that
Which I have suffered, and which he beheld; 80
Made it unutterable, and took from it
All refuge, all revenge, all consequence,
But that which thou hast called my father's death?
Which is or is not what men call a crime,
Which either I have done, or have not done;
Say what ye will. I shall deny no more.
If ye desire it thus, thus let it be,
And so an end of all. Now do your will;
No other pains shall force another word.
She is convicted, but has not confessed. 90
Be it enough. Until their final sentence
Let none have converse with them. You, young Lord,
Linger not here!
Oh, tear him not away!
Guards! do your duty.
BERNARDO (embracing BEATRICE)
Oh! would ye divide
Body from soul?
That is the headsman's business.
[Exeunt all but LUCRETIA, BEATRICE, and GIACOMO.
Have I confessed? Is it all over now?
No hope! no refuge! O weak, wicked tongue,
Which hast destroyed me, would that thou hadst been
Cut out and thrown to dogs first! To have killed
My father first, and then betrayed my sister-- 100
Ay thee! the one thing innocent and pure
In this black, guilty world--to that which I
So well deserve! My wife! my little ones!
Destitute, helpless; and I--Father! God!
Canst thou forgive even the unforgiving,
When their full hearts break thus, thus?
(Covers his face and weeps)
O my child!
To what a dreadful end are we all come!
Why did I yield? Why did I not sustain
Those torments? Oh, that I were all dissolved
Into these fast and unavailing tears, 110
Which flow and feel not!
What 't was weak to do,
'T is weaker to lament, once being done;
Take cheer! The God who knew my wrong, and made
Our speedy act the angel of his wrath,
Seems, and but seems, to have abandoned us.
Let us not think that we shall die for this.
Brother, sit near me; give me your firm hand,
You had a manly heart. Bear up! bear up!
O dearest Lady, put your gentle head
Upon my lap, and try to sleep awhile; 120
Your eyes look pale, hollow, and overworn,
With heaviness of watching and slow grief.
Come, I will sing you some low, sleepy tune,
Not cheerful, nor yet sad; some dull old thing,
Some outworn and unused monotony,
Such as our country gossips sing and spin,
Till they almost forget they live. Lie down--
So, that will do. Have I forgot the words?
Faith! they are sadder than I thought they were.
False friend, wilt thou smile or weep 130
When my life is laid asleep?
Little cares for a smile or a tear,
The clay-cold corpse upon the bier!
What is this whispers low?
There is a snake in thy smile, my dear;
And bitter poison within thy tear.
Sweet sleep! were death like to thee,
Or if thou couldst mortal be,
I would close these eyes of pain; 140
When to wake? Never again.
O World! farewell!
Listen to the passing bell!
It say, thou and I must part,
With a light and a heavy heart.
(The scene closes)
SCENE IV.--A Hall of the Prison. Enter CAMILLO and BERNARDO.
The Pope is stern; not to be moved or bent.
He looked as calm and keen as is the engine
Which tortures and which kills, exempt itself
From aught that it inflicts; a marble form,
A rite, a law, a custom, not a man.
He frowned, as if to frown had been the trick
Of his machinery, on the advocates
Presenting the defences, which he tore
And threw behind, muttering with hoarse, harsh voice--
'Which among ye defended their old father 10
Killed in his sleep?' then to another--'Thou
Dost this in virtue of thy place; 't is well.'
He turned to me then, looking deprecation,
And said these three words, coldly--'They must die.'
And yet you left him not?
I urged him still;
Pleading, as I could guess, the devilish wrong
Which prompted your unnatural parent's death.
And he replied--'Paolo Santa Croce
Murdered his mother yester evening,
And he is fled. Parricide grows so rife, 20
That soon, for some just cause no doubt, the young
Will strangle us all, dozing in our chairs.
Authority, and power, and hoary hair
Are grown crimes capital. You are my nephew,
You come to ask their pardon; stay a moment;
Here is their sentence; never see me more
Till, to the letter, it be all fulfilled.'
Oh, God, not so! I did believe indeed
That all you said was but sad preparation
For happy news. Oh, there are words and looks 30
To bend the sternest purpose! Once I knew them,
Now I forget them at my dearest need.
What think you if I seek him out, and bathe
His feet and robe with hot and bitter tears?
Importune him with prayers, vexing his brain
With my perpetual cries, until in rage
He strike me with his pastoral cross, and trample
Upon my prostrate head, so that my blood
May stain the senseless dust on which he treads,
And remorse waken mercy? I will do it! 40
Oh, wait till I return!
Alas, poor boy!
A wreck-devoted seaman thus might pray
To the deaf sea.
Enter LUCRETIA, BEATRICE, and GIACOMO, guarded
I hardly dare to fear
That thou bring'st other news than a just pardon.
May God in heaven be less inexorable
To the Pope's prayers than he has been to mine.
Here is the sentence and the warrant.
My God! Can it be possible I have
To die so suddenly? so young to go
Under the obscure, cold, rotting, wormy ground! 50
To be nailed down into a narrow place;
To see no more sweet sunshine; hear no more
Blithe voice of living thing; muse not again
Upon familiar thoughts, sad, yet thus lost!
How fearful! to be nothing! Or to be--
What? Oh, where am I? Let me not go mad!
Sweet Heaven, forgive weak thoughts! If there should be
No God, no Heaven, no Earth in the void world--
The wide, gray, lampless, deep, unpeopled world!
If all things then should be--my father's spirit, 60
His eye, his voice, his touch surrounding me;
The atmosphere and breath of my dead life!
If sometimes, as a shape more like himself,
Even the form which tortured me on earth,
Masked in gray hairs and wrinkles, he should come,
And wind me in his hellish arms, and fix
His eyes on mine, and drag me down, down, down!
For was he not alone omnipotent
On Earth, and ever present? even though dead,
Does not his spirit live in all that breathe, 70
And work for me and mine still the same ruin,
Scorn, pain, despair? Who ever yet returned
To teach the laws of death's untrodden realm?
Unjust perhaps as those which drive us now,
Oh, whither, whither?
Trust in God's sweet love,
The tender promises of Christ; ere night,
Think we shall be in Paradise.
'T is past!
Whatever comes, my heart shall sink no more.
And yet, I know not why, your words strike chill;
How tedious, false, and cold seem all things! I 80
Have met with much injustice in this world;
No difference has been made by God or man,
Or any power moulding my wretched lot,
'Twixt good or evil, as regarded me.
I am cut off from the only world I know,
From light, and life, and love, in youth's sweet prime.
You do well telling me to trust in God;
I hope I do trust in him. In whom else
Can any trust? And yet my heart is cold.
(During the latter speeches GIACOMO has retired conversing
with CAMILLO, who now goes out; GIACOMO advances)
Know you not, mother--sister, know you not? 90
Bernardo even now is gone to implore
The Pope to grant our pardon.
It will be granted. We may all then live
To make these woes a tale for distant years.
Oh, what a thought! It gushes to my heart
Like the warm blood.
Yet both will soon be cold.
Oh, trample out that thought! Worse than despair,
Worse than the bitterness of death, is hope;
It is the only ill which can find place
Upon the giddy, sharp, and narrow hour 100
Tottering beneath us. Plead with the swift frost
That it should spare the eldest flower of spring;
Plead with awakening earthquake, o'er whose couch
Even now a city stands, strong, fair, and free;
Now stench and blackness yawn, like death. Oh, plead
With famine, or wind-walking pestilence,
Blind lightning, or the deaf sea, not with man--
Cruel, cold, formal man; righteous in words,
In deeds a Cain. No, mother, we must die;
Since such is the reward of innocent lives, 110
Such the alleviation of worst wrongs.
And whilst our murderers live, and hard, cold men,
Smiling and slow, walk through a world of tears
To death as to life's sleep; 't were just the grave
Were some strange joy for us. Come, obscure Death,
And wind me in thine all-embracing arms!
Like a fond mother hide me in thy bosom,
And rock me to the sleep from which none wake.
Live ye, who live, subject to one another
As we were once, who now--
BERNARDO rushes in
Oh, horrible! 120
That tears, that looks, that hope poured forth in prayer,
Even till the heart is vacant and despairs,
Should all be vain! The ministers of death
Are waiting round the doors. I thought I saw
Blood on the face of one--what if 't were fancy?
Soon the heart's blood of all I love on earth
Will sprinkle him, and he will wipe it off
As if 't were only rain. O life! O world!
Cover me! let me be no more! To see
That perfect mirror of pure innocence 130
Wherein I gazed, and grew happy and good,
Shivered to dust! To see thee, Beatrice,
Who made all lovely thou didst look upon--
Thee, light of life--dead, dark! while I say, sister,
To hear I have no sister; and thou, mother,
Whose love was as a bond to all our loves--
Dead! the sweet bond broken!
Enter CAMILLO and Guards
They come! Let me
Kiss those warm lips before their crimson leaves
Are blighted--white--cold. Say farewell, before
Death chokes that gentle voice! Oh, let me hear 140
Farewell, my tender brother. Think
Of our sad fate with gentleness, as now;
And let mild, pitying thoughts lighten for thee
Thy sorrow's load. Err not in harsh despair,
But tears and patience. One thing more, my child;
For thine own sake be constant to the love
Thou bearest us; and to the faith that I,
Though wrapped in a strange cloud of crime and shame,
Lived ever holy and unstained. And though
Ill tongues shall wound me, and our common name 150
Be as a mark stamped on thine innocent brow
For men to point at as they pass, do thou
Forbear, and never think a thought unkind
Of those who perhaps love thee in their graves.
So mayest thou die as I do; fear and pain
Being subdued. Farewell! Farewell! Farewell!
I cannot say farewell!
O Lady Beatrice!
Give yourself no unnecessary pain,
My dear Lord Cardinal. Here, mother, tie
My girdle for me, and bind up this hair 160
In any simple knot; ay, that does well.
And yours I see is coming down. How often
Have we done this for one another; now
We shall not do it any more. My Lord,
We are quite ready. Well--'t is very well.