BETA

A woman dressed in white appears to be fainting and is supported by two men. One man holds her left hand and the other catches her as she falls. Two guards watch to the right of the page and another woman moves towards the fainting woman from the left of the page. The figures are in a semi-enclosed balcony space with a view of buildings beyond the railing. Full-page illustration.

MARINO FALIERO

TAKING A LAST FAREWELL OF ANGIOLINA (HIS DUCHESS.)

Farewell, my Beautiful ! condemn me not 1
If the foul wrong the slanderer heap’d on thee2
Forgiven by thy calm purity—forgot3
If the vile Steno’s insult madden’d me ;—4
How unavenged could Zara’s conqueror die ?5
He, who for Venice shed his blood to save,6
Hear the hoarse murmur ! the patricians’ cry,7
The warrior prince must fill a traitor’s grave !’8
But thou, sweet Angiolina ! gentle wife !9
Though bitter thus to leave thee, and alone 10
In the cold world—the blossom of thy life 11
Is in its summer yet—and when I’m gone,12
When the stern memories of my fated lot13
Shall fade away in the dim mist of years,14
Perchance thy weary step may reach some spot 15
Untainted by the haunting trace of tears !16
Dost thou remember when the Bucentaur 17
Through the blue Adriatic clave its way,18
While shouts, and song, and greetings from the shore 19
Hail’d with acclaim Marino’s festal day ?20
Sudden a thick and murky darkness shrouded 21
Our gallant bark, and the haze-mantled land,22
The brilliant sky was in a moment clouded,23
And misty vapours hid th’ expectant strand.24
My fate was shadowed forth in omens dark25
Ev’n in mine hour of glory there was gloom !26
It was between the columns of St. Mark 27
(The spot where evil-doers meet their doom)28
That Venice saw Faliero’s footstep leave 29
On her loved soil, its first -and fatal trace,30
When pouring forth in gladness to receive 31
The Victor Doge—the chosen of her race.32
And he, the hero of full many a field,33
Whose skill and courage battled with despair,34
Who taught the Saracen and Hun to yield,35
They wait for him upon the Giant’s-stair !—36
Not as in olden time, with pomp to set 37
The Ducal Crown upon his hoary head38
Here let it rest !— this mocking coronet 39
A few brief moments more its lustre shed !40
Ere they shall lift it from the traitor’s brow,41
The prince-conspirator, who dared to seek 42
His just revenge for calumnies so low !—43
My heart would burst did I essay to speak.44
—Thou ’s t loved me, Angiolina ! though thy youth 45
Was haply ill-assorted with thy lord’s ;46
Yet, in thy veerless virtues, in thy truth,47
I found a jewel priceless beyond words.48
The air blows freshly through the orange-trees,49
Our clime’s bright noontide sheds its purest ray,50
And o’er the azure waves the healthful breeze 51
‘Curls the Lagune’s deep waters, as in play !52
But hark !— they swarm around my palace-gates !53
Yon gazing multitude—one breathing flood !—54
The victim is prepared—the scaffold waits !—55
Nature is calm, while man’s athirst for blood.56
The headsman’s axe is sharp, but sharper still 57
This parting pang, sweet love !— I dread not death !58
But shuddering fears my anxious bosom fill 59
For thee !— no rose is on thy cheek, no breath !—60
Alas! must I be thankful that I grasp 61
In my fond arms but pale unconscious clay ?62
For the last time her small white hand I clasp63
The hour is come—I must be firm— Away !64
Support ! but wake her not !— this death-like swoon 65
Is surely sent in Heaven’s mercy now66
O God! that I should hail it as a boon 67
To gaze my last upon that pallid brow !68
And bless the marble-whiteness stealing o’er 69
Those lovely features, reft of life and bloom,70
The lips whose accents I shall hear no more 71
Until we meet—my own !— beyond the tomb !”72
One wild and passionate embrace—’tis o’er !—73
The fatal summons comes, the hollow sound 74
Of armed feet approaching to the door75
His guards in silent pomp the Doge surround.76
Erect—majestic—he goes forth in state77
A sovereign to the last, in regal pride78
His madness and his crime to expiate79
And thus the Noble and the Aged died!80