: I have ventured, father, on your privacy.
- DOGE: I have none from you, my child.
- Command my time, when not commanded by the state.
: I wish'd to speak to you of him.
- DOGE: Your husband?
: And your son.
- DOGE: Proceed, my daughter!
: I had obtain'd permission from "the Ten"
- To attend my husband for a limited number of hours.
- DOGE: You had so.
: 'Tis revoked.
- DOGE: By whom?
: "The Ten."When we had reach'd "the
- Which I prepared to pass with Foscari,
- The gloomy guardian of that passage first
- Demurr'd: a messenger was sent back to
- "The Ten;"but as the court no longer sate,
- And no permission had been given in writing,
- I was thrust back, with the assurance that
- Until that high tribunal reassembled
- The dungeon walls must still divide us.
- DOGE: True, the form has been omitted in the haste
- With which the court adjourn'd; and till it meets,
- 'Tis dubious.
: Till it meets! and when it meets,
- They'll torture him again; and he and I
- Must purchase by renewal of the rack
- The interview of husband and of wife,
- The holiest tie beneath the heavens!Oh God!
- Dost thou see this?
- DOGE: Childchild
: (abruptly). Call me not "child!"
- You soon will have no childrenyou deserve none
- You, who can talk thus calmly of a son
- In circumstances which would call forth tears
- Of blood from Spartans! Though these did not weep
- Their boys who died in battle, is it written
- That they beheld them perish piecemeal, nor
- Stretch'd forth a hand to save them?
- DOGE: You behold me:
- I cannot weepI would I could; but if
- Each white hair on this head were a young life,
- This ducal cap the diadem of earth,
- This ducal ring with which I wed the waves
- A talisman to still themI'd give all for him.
: With less he surely might be saved.
- DOGE: That answer only shows you know not
- Alas! how should you? she knows not herself,
- In all her mystery. Hear methey who aim
- At Foscari, aim no less at his father;
- The sire's destruction would not save the son;
- They work by different means to the same end,
- And that isbut they have not conquer'd yet.
: But thy have crush'd.
- DOGE: Nor crush'd as yetI live.
: And your son,how long will he live?
- DOGE: I trust, for all that yet is past, as many years
- And happier than his father. The rash boy,
- With womanish impatience to return,
- Hath ruin'd all by that detected letter:
- A high crime, which I neither can deny
- Nor palliate, as parent or as Duke:
- Had he but borne a little, little longer
- His Candiote exile, I had hopeshe has quench'd them
- He must return.
: To exile?
- DOGE: I have said it.
: And can I not go with him?
- DOGE: You well know this prayer of yours was twice denied before
- By the assembled "Ten," and hardly now
- Will be accorded to a third request,
- Since aggravated errors on the part
- Of your lord renders them still more austere.
: Austere? Atrocious! The old human fiends,
- With one foot in the grave, with dim eyes, strange
- To tears save drops of dotage, with long white
- And scanty hairs, and shaking hands, and heads
- As palsied as their hearts are hard, they counsel,
- Cabal, and put men's lives out, as if life
- Were no more than the feelings long extinguish'd
- In their accursed bosoms.
- DOGE: You know not
: I doI doand so should you, methinks
- That these are demons: could it be else that
- Men, who have been of women born and suckled
- Who have loved, or talk'd at least of lovehave given
- Their hands in sacred vowshave danced their babes
- Upon their knees, perhaps have mourn'd above them
- In pain, in peril, or in deathwho are,
- Or were at least in seeming, human, could
- Do as they have done by yours, and you yourself
- You who abet them?
- DOGE: I forgive this, for you know not what you say.
: You know it well,
- And feel it nothing.
- DOGE: I have borne so much,
- That words have ceased to shake me.
: Oh, no doubt!
- You have seen your son's blood flow, and your flesh shook not;
- And after that, what are a woman's words?
- No more than woman's tears, that they should shake you.
- DOGE: Woman, this clamorous grief of thine, I tell thee,
- Is no more in the balance weigh'd with that
- Whichbut I pity thee, my poor Marina!
: Pity my husband, or I cast it from me;
- Pity thy son! Thou pity!'tis a word
- Strange to thy hearthow came it on thy lips?
- DOGE: I must bear these reproaches, though they wrong me.
- Couldst thou but read
: 'Tis not upon thy brow,
- Nor in thine eyes, nor in thine acts,where then
- Should I behold this sympathy? or shall?
- DOGE: (pointing downwards). There.
: In the earth?
- DOGE: To which I am tending: when
- It lies upon this heart, far lightlier, though
- Loaded with marble, than the thoughts which press it
- Now, you will know me better.
: Are you, then, indeed, thus to be pitied?
- DOGE: Pitied! None shall ever use that base word, with which men
- Cloak their soul's hoarded triumph, as a fit one
- To mingle with my name; that name shall be,
- As far as I have borne it, what it was
- When I received it.
: But for the poor children
- Of him thou canst not, or thou wilt not save,
- You were the last to bear it.
- DOGE: Would it were so!
- Better for him he never had been born;
- Better for me.I have seen our house dishonour'd.
: That's false! A truer, nobler, trustier heart,
- More loving, or more loyal, never beat
- Within a human breast. I would not change
- My exiled, persecuted, mangled husband,
- Oppress'd but not disgraced, crush'd, overwhelm'd,
- Alive, or dead, for prince or paladin
- In story or in fable, with a world
- To back his suit. Dishonour'd!he dishonour'd!
- I tell thee, Doge, 'tis
- His name shall be her foulest, worst reproach,
- For what he suffers, not for what he did.
- 'Tis ye who are all traitors, tyrant!ye!
- Did you but love your country like this victim
- Who totters back in chains to tortures, and
- Submits to all things rather than to exile,
- You'd fling yourselves before him, and implore
- His grace for your enormous guilt.
- DOGE: He was indeed all you have said. I better bore
- The deaths of the two sons Heaven took from me,
- Than Jacopo's disgrace.
: That word again?
- DOGE: Has he not been condemn'd?
: Is none but guilt so?
- DOGE: Time may restore his memoryI would hope so.
- He was my pride, mybut 'tis useless now
- I am not given to tears, but wept for joy
- When he was born: those drops were ominous.
: I say he's innocent! And were he not so,
- Is our own blood and kin to shrink from us
- In fatal moments?
- DOGE: I shrank not from him:
- But I have other duties than a father's;
- The state would not dispense me from those duties;
- Twice I demanded it, but was refused:
- They must then be fulfill'd.