Imatges de pÓgina

Strong in some hundred spearmen-only great

In that strange spell—a name.

Each hour, dark fraud,

Or open rapine, or protected murder,

Cry out against them. But this very day,

An honest man, my neighbour-there he stands—
Was struck-struck like a dog, by one who wore
The badge of Ursini; because, forsooth,
He tossed not high his ready cap in air,
Nor lifted up his voice in servile shouts,
At sight of that great ruffian. Be we men,
And suffer such dishonour? Men, and wash not
The stain away in blood? Such shames are common.
I have known deeper wrongs. 1, that speak to ye,
I had a brother once, a gracious boy,

Full of all gentleness, of calmest hope

Of sweet and quiet joy-there was the look
Of heaven upon his face, which limners give
To the beloved disciple. How I loved
That gracious boy! Younger by fifteen years,
Brother at once and son! He left my side,

A summer bloom on his fair cheeks-a smile
Parting his innocent lips. In one short hour
The pretty harmless boy was slain! I saw
The corse, the mangled corse, and then I cried

For vengeance!-Rouse, ye Romans!-Rouse, ye slaves!
Have ye brave sons? Look in the next fierce brawl
To see them die. Have ye fair daughters?


To see them live, torn from your arms, distained,
Dishonoured; and, if ye dare call for justice,
Be answered by the lash. Yet, this is Rome,
That sate on her seven hills, and from her throne
Of beauty ruled the world! Yet, we are Romans.
Why, in that elder day, to be a Roman

Was greater than a king! And once again—
Hear me, ye walls, that echoed to the tread
Of either Brutus! once again, I swear,
The eternal city shall be free! her sons
Shall walk with princes.

Angelo. (entering.)

What be ye,

That thus in stern and watchful mystery

Cluster beneath the veil of night, and start

To hear a stranger's foot?




And wherefore

Meet ye, my countrymen ?

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For freedom.


Ay, the voice

I knew thee by the words.
Who, save thyself, in this bad age, when man
Lies prostrate like yon temple, dared conjoin
The sounds of Rome and freedom?

I shall teach
The world to blend those words, as in the days
Before the Cæsars. Thou shalt be the first
To hail the union. I have seen thee hang
On tales of the world's mistress, till thine eyes
Flooded with strong emotion, have let fall

Big tear drops on thy cheeks, and thy young hand.
Hath clenched thy maiden sword. Unsheath it now-
Now, at thy country's call! What, dost thou
Is the flame quenched? Dost falter?
Pass on! pass whilst thou may!

pause ? Hence with thee,

Hear me, Rienzi.
Even now my spirit leaps up at the thought
Of those brave storied days-a treasury
Of matchless visions, bright and glorified,
Paling the dim lights of this darkling world
With the golden blaze of heaven, but past and gone,
As clouds of yesterday, as last night's dream.


A dream! Dost see yon phalanx, still and stern?
An hundred leaders, each with such a band,
So armed, so resolute, so fixed in will,

Wait with suppressed impatience till they hear
The great bell of the Capitol, to spring

At once on their proud foes. Join them.

Rie. Already he hath quitted Rome.

My father!

My kinsmen !

Thou shalt see

Rie. We are too strong for contest.
No other change within our peaceful streets
Than that of slaves to freemen. Such a change
As is the silent step from night to day,
From darkness into light. We talk too long.
Ang. Yet reason with them-warn them.

And their answer

Will be the gaol, the gibbet, or the axe.
The keen retort of power. Why, I have reasoned;

And, but that I am held, amongst your great ones,
Half madman and half fool, these bones of mine
Had whitened on yon wall. Warn them! They met

At every step dark warnings. The pure air,
Where'er they passed, was heavy with the weight
Of sullen silence; friend met friend, nor smiled,
Till the last footfall of the tyrant's steed

Had died upon the ear; and low and hoarse
Hatred came murmuring like the deep voice
Of the wind before the tempest.


How shall I swear?

Rie. (To the people.)

I'll join ye;

[Gives his hand to Rienzi.

Friends, comrades, countrymen,

I bring unhoped-for aid. Young Angelo,
The immediate heir of the Colonna, craves
To join your band.


Hear me swear

By Rome-by freedom-by Rienzi! Comrades,
How have ye titled your deliverer? consul-
Dictator, emperor ?

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Those names have been so often steeped in blood,
So shamed by folly, so profaned by sin,

The sound seems ominous-I'll none of them.
Call me the tribune of the people; there

My honouring duty lies. Hark-the bell, the bell!
The knell of tyranny-the mighty voice,
That to the city and the plain—to earth,

And listening heaven, proclaims the glorious tale
Of Rome re-born, and freedom. See, the clouds
Are swept away, and the moon's boat of light
Sails in the clear blue sky, and million stars
Look out on us, and smile.




Quince. Is all your company here?

You were best to call them generally, man by man, according to the scrip.

Quin. Here is the scroll of every man's name, which is thought fit, through all Athens, to play in our interlude before the duke and duchess, on his wedding day at night.

Bot. First, good Peter Quince, say what the play treats on; then read the names of the actors; and so grow to a point.

Quin. Marry, our play is-The most lamentable comedy, and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisby.

Bot. A very good piece of work, I assure you, and a merry. Now, good Peter Quince, call forth your actors by the scroll-Masters, spread yourselves.

Quin. Answer, as I call you. Nick Bottom, the weaver. Bot. Ready. Name what part I am for, and proceed. Quin. You, Nick Bottom, are set down for Pyramus. Bot. What is Pyramus? a lover or a tyrant? Quin. A lover, that kills himself most gallantly for love. Bot. That will ask some tears in the true performing of it. If I do it, let the audience look to their eyes; I will move storms, I will condole in some measure. To the rest-Yet my chief humour is for a tyrant; I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split. "The raging rocks, With shivering shocks, Shall break the locks Of prison gates: And Phibbus' car Shall shine from far,

And make and mar

The foolish fates."

This was lofty!-Now name the rest of the players. This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein; a lover is more condoling.

Quin. Francis Flute, the bellows-mender.


Here, Peter Quince.

Quin. You must take Thisby on you.

Flu. What is Thisby? a wandering knight.
Quin. It is the lady that Pyramus must love.

Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard a coming.

Quin. That's all one; you shall play it in a mask, and you may speak as small as you will.

Bot. An I may hide my face, let me play Thisby too; I'll speak in a monstrous little voice:-Thisbe, Thisbe, Ah, Pyramus, my lover dear; thy Thisby, dear! and lady dear!

Quin. No, no; you must play Pyramus ;—and, Flute, you Thisby.

Bot. Well, proceed.


Robin Starveling, the tailor.

Star. Here, Peter Quince.

Quin. Robin Starveling, you must play Thisby's mother. Myself, Thisby's father;-Snug, the joiner, you, the lion's part :—and, I hope, here is a play fitted.

Snug. Have you the lion's part written? pray you, if it be, give it to me, for I am slow of study.

Quin. You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.

Bot. Let me play the lion too: I will roar, that I will do any man's heart good to hear me; will roar that I will make the duke say, Let him roar again, Let him roar again.

Quin. An you should do it too terribly, you would fright the duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek; and that were enough to hang us all.

All. That would hang us, every mother's son.

Bot. I grant you, friends, if that you should fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have no more discretion but to hang us; but I will aggravate my voice So, that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale.

Quin. You can play no part but Pyramus: for Pyramus is a sweet-faced man; a proper man, as one shall see in a summer's day; a most lovely, gentleman-like man; therefore you must needs play Pyramus.

Bot. Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it in?

Quin. Why, what you will.

Bot. I will discharge it in either your straw-coloured beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your French-crown-colour beard, your perfect yellow.

Quin. Some of your French crowns have no hair at all, and then you will play bare-faced. But, masters, here are your parts; and I am to entreat you, request you, and desire you, to con them by to-morrow night; and meet me in the palace wood, a mile without the town, by moon-light; there will we rehearse: for if we meet in the city, we shall be dogg'd with company, and our devices known. In the mean time I will draw a bill of properties, such as our play I pray you, fail me not.


Bot. We will meet; and there we may rehearse more freely, and courageously. Take pains; be perfect; adieu.

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