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one another, the former being reserved simply for the full development and illustration of the latter. Imagination is as the immortal God which should assume flesh for the redemption of mortal passion. It is thus that the most remote and the most familiar imagery may alike be fit for dramatic purposes when employed in the illustration of strong feeling, which raises what is low, and levels to the apprehension that which is lofty, casting over all the shadow of its own greatness. In other respects I have written more carelessly; that is, without an over-fastidious and learned choice of words. In this respect I entirely agree with those modern critics who assert that in order to move men to true sympathy we must use the familiar language of men. And that our great ancestors the ancient English poets are the writers, a study of whom might incite us to do that for our own age which they have done for theirs. But it must be the real language of men in general, and not that of any particular class to whose society the writer happens to belong. So much for what I have attempted; I need not be assured that success is a very different matter; particularly for one whose attention has but newly been awakened to the study of dramatic literature.
I endeavoured whilst at Rome to observe such monuments of this story as might be accessible to a stranger. The portrait of Beatrice at the Colonna Palace is admirable as a work of art: it was taken by Guido during her confinement in prison. But it is most interesting as a just representation of one of the loveliest specimens of the workmanship of Nature. There is a fixed and pale composure upon the features: she seems sad and stricken down in spirit, yet the despair thus expressed is lightened by the patience of gentleness. Her head is bound with folds of white drapery from which the yellow strings of her golden hair escape and fall about her neck. The moulding of her face is exquisitely delicate; the eyebrows are distinct and arched; the lips have that permanent meaning of imagination and sensibility which suffering has not repressed, and which it seems as if death scarcely could extinguish. Her forehead is large and clear; her eyes, which we are told were remarkable for their vivacity, are swollen with weeping and lustreless, but beautifully tender and serene. In the whole mien there is a simplicity and dignity which united with her exquisite loveliness and deep sorrow are inexpressibly pathetic. Beatrice Cenci appears to have been one of those rare persons in whom energy and gentleness dwell together without destroying one another: her nature was simple and profound. The crimes and miseries in which she was an actor and a sufferer are as the mask and the mantle in which circumstances clothed her for her impersonation on the scene of the world.
The Cenci Palace is of great extent; and though in part modernized, there yet remains a vast and gloomy pile of feudal architecture in the same state as during the dreadful scenes which are the subject of this tragedy. The Palace is situated in an obscure corner of Rome, near the quarter of the Jews, and from the upper windows you see the immense ruins of Mount Palatine half hidden under their profuse overgrowth of trees. There is a court in one part of the Palace (perhaps that in which Cenci built the Chapel to St. Thomas), supported by granite columns and adorned with antique friezes of fine workmanship, and built up according to the ancient Italian fashion, with balcony over balcony of open-work. One of the gates of the Palace, formed of immense stones, and leading through a passage, dark and lofty, and opening into gloomy subterranean chambers, struck me particularly.
Of the Castle of Petrella, I could obtain no further information than that which is to be found in the manuscript.
SAVELLA, the Pope's Legate.
COUNT FRANCESCO CENCI.
ORSINO, a Prelate.
ANDREA, Servant to CENCI.
LUCRETIA, Wife of CENCI, and Stepmother of his Children.
The Scene lies principally in Rome, but changes during the Fourth Act to Petrella, a castle among the Apulian Apennines.
TIME-During the Pontificate of CLEMENT VIII.
SCENE I-An Apartment in the Cenci Palace.
Cam. That matter of the murder is hushed up
Your fief that lies beyond the Pincian gate.
It needed all my interest in the conclave
To bend him to this point: he said that you
That crimes like yours if once or twice compounded
But the glory and the interest
Of the high throne he fills, little consist
As manifold and hideous as the deeds
Which you scarce hide from men's revolted eyes.
The next time I compounded with his uncle:
Respite their souls from Heaven. No doubt Pope Clement,
That the Apostle Peter and the saints
Will grant for their sake that I long enjoy
Strength, wealth, and pride, and lust, and length of days
Wherein to act the deeds which are the stewards
Of their revenue.-But much yet remains
Oh, Count Cenci !
So much that thou mightst honourably live
But her own strange and uncomplaining wrongs?
Nay, this is idle: we should know each other.
And vindicate that right with force or guile,
For you give out that you have half reformed me,
All men delight in sensual luxury,
All men enjoy revenge; and most exult
Flattering their secret peace with others' pain.
But I delight in nothing else. I love
And I have no remorse and little fear,
Which are, I think, the checks of other men.
But such as men like you would start to know,
Until it be accomplished.
Art thou not
No. I am what you theologians call
Hardened; which they must be in impudence,
So to revile a man's peculiar taste.
True, I was happier than I am, while yet
And heard his groans, and heard his children's groans,
Wherein I feed it with the breath of fear
For hourly pain.
Hell's most abandoned fiend
Did never, in the drunkenness of guilt,
Speak to his heart as now you speak to me;
I thank my God that I believe you not.
Andr. My lord, a gentleman from Salamanca
Would speak with you.
Cen. Bid him attend me in the grand saloon. [Exit ANDREA.
Cam. Farewell; and I will pray
Almighty God that thy false, impious words,
Cen. The third of my possessions! I must use
[Looking around him suspiciously.
I think they cannot hear me at that door;
Though the heart triumphs with itself in words,
O, thou most silent air, that shalt not hear
What now I think! Thou, pavement, which I tread
Andr. My lord!
Cen. Bid Beatrice attend me in her chamber This evening:-no, at midnight, and alone.
SCENE II.-A Garden of the Cenci Palace.
Enter BEATRICE and ORSINO, as in conversation.
Beatr. Pervert not truth,
You remember where we held
That conversation;-nay, we see the spot
Even from this cypress;-two long years are past
The moonlight ruins of Mount Palatine,
Speak to me not of love.
Ors. I may obtain
The dispensation of the Pope to marry.
Because I am a priest do you believe
Your image, as the hunter some struck deer,
Follows me not whether I wake or sleep?
Beatr. As I have said, speak to me not of love;
Had you a dispensation, I have not;
Nor will I leave this home of misery
Whilst my poor Bernard, and that gentle lady
I felt for you, is turned to bitter pain.
Ours was a youthful contract, which you first
Even as a sister or a spirit might;
And so I swear a cold fidelity.
And it is well perhaps we shall not marry.
You have a sly, equivocating vein
That suits me not. Ah, wretched that I am!
Ors. All will be well.