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sublime, particularly the one beginning" Methinks, I'm like some aged mountain."
Doria is arraigned before Trivulci and the Senate.
"Tri. I'm sorry that
You, for whose head the gratitude of the state
Decreed triumphant bays, should be enforc'd
To stand here a delinquent; but the law
Must, as a straight and uncorrupted stream,
Enjoy its usual freedom. My lords,
We are not met here to arraign a prisoner
Whose guilt does speak his sentence, but a person,
Not only most unblemish'd in his fame,
But one to whom our country owes its life;
Who, with his dearest blood, has balm'd the wounds
Which mischief's giant-off-spring, razing war,
Cut in the bosom of the common-wealth.
Sen. We all confess his worth.
Tri. Yet this brave youth
This patron of our liberty; all his honours,
His blood and titles, his effective bays,
That would have guarded his victorious front
rom blasts of lightning, laid aside, is come
To tender satisfaction to the laws
He has offended; and since judgment is
Th' immediate act of justice, it must pass,
To save impartial censure on his life,
As on the wretch'dst malefactor's; for
His former merits cannot take away
His present fault; for whoe'er is guilty
Undoes the privilege of his desert and blood.
For if great men, offending, pass unpunish'd,
The common people, who do use to sin
By their example, fearless will run on
Into licentious wickedness.
Sen. Your grace delivers
The intention of the state; no oracle
Could have explain'd the meaning of our laws
With more integrity.
Tri. Yet, my good lords,
I speak not this, that my particular vengeance,
Because he slew my kinsman, has the least
Aim at his life, which I would strive to cherish,
As my own health, or as the city's peace;
For magistrates ought to behold their crimes,
Not the committers, as the poets feign,
Of wise Tiresias, to want eyes and only
Have seeing understanding; for a judge
Is guilty of the fault he does not punish.
And if reward and triumphs do adorn
Deserts, 'tis just that shame and punishments
Should wait on vices; and, how much more worthy
The person is, that acts them, so far sharper
Should be the penalty inflicted on him.
Sen. And when the law
Uses its utmost rigour, 'tis the crime
And not the man it sentences.
Tri. In brief,
We must decline his merit and forget
Our gratitude and since his hand is dipt
In civil blood, his life must expiate what
His arm unfortunately committed.
Dor. My lords,
The services which I have done the state
Were but my natural duty; I atchieved 'em
To gain me fame and glory, and you safety; and
Should esteem them traitors to honour, if their intercession
Be a protection for my crimes: I mean not
To plead to save a dis-respected life,
'Cause I fear death: a sea-incompass'd rock
Is not less timorous of th' assaulting waves,
Than I of the grim monster; but there is
A fame surviving which I would be loath
Should tell posterity I tamely yielded
My head to the axe, and died, because my spirit
Durst not desire to live: to quit this scandal,
I hope, what I can urge in my defence
Shall have indifferent hearing.
Tri. Speak freely.
Dor. Know then, my intention
Is not by excuse to extenuate my fact,
Which I confess most horrid, and would pay
A thousand showers of sorrow could this hand
Re-edify that goodly frame of flesh
Which it demolish'd; but my priceless fame,
In whose dear cause, I slew him, will to justice
Boldly proclaim, I did no more than what,
The truth I owe my reputation tells me,
Was right in point of honour.
Tri. But the law
Does disallow it, as unjust, and that
Must be your judge; and not that idle breath
Which you abusively term honour.
Dor. Your laws cannot, without partiality, pronounce Judgment against me, for they do acquit That man of guilt that, to defend his life, Is forc'd to slay his enemy; my act Carries the same condition: since my fame, Whose safety urg'd me to kill him, is my life, My immortal life, as far transcending this As the soul does the body; for the sword Returns that to its primitive matter, dust; And there it rests, forgotten; but, a wound Struck upon reputation leaves a brand, (So self-diffusive is dishonour's guilt,) Even to posterity, and does revive After it has suffer'd martyrdom.
Sen. Yet, this
Cannot excuse your fact; for civil reason
Allows a reparation for the loss
Of fame, but gives no man a lawful licence
To snatch the privilege from the hands of justice,
Which would dispose it equally.
Dor. This strictness destroys all
Right of manhood, since a coward
May, fearlessly relying on this sufferage
Of law, affront even valour's self: consider
That the most cunning pilot cannot steer man's
Brittle vessel 'twixt these dangerous rocks
Of law and honour; safely sail by this,
And on that suffer shipwreck: for, suppose
I had with patience borne this scandalous name
Of a degenerate coward, I not only had
Nipp'd the budding valour of my youth,
As with a killing frost, but left a shame inherent
To our family; disgraced
My noble father's memory; defamed,
Nay, cowarded my ancestors, whose dust
Would have broke through the marble, to revenge
On me this fatal infamy.
Adorni. Well urg'd; and resolutely.
Dor. Nay, more yourselves,
That hate the deed being done, would have detested The doer worse had it not been perform'd; Withdrawn my charge in the army, as from me, Protested for a coward; I might then
Have abjur'd the trade of war, in which I have been nurs'd.
Yet, for preserving this unvalued gem
Of precious honour, that hangs on my soul
Like a well-polish'd jewel in the ear
Of the exactest beauty, must I suffer
The laws' stern rigour.
Tri. Sir, I could refute,
With circumstance, your wrong opinion; but, in brief,
Religious conscience utterly disclaims
An act so barbarous to take man's life
Is to destroy Heaven's image; and if those
Are held as traitors, and the law inflicts
Severest tortures on them who deface
The stamps of princes on their coin, can they appear
As guiltless, whose rude hands disgrace
The great Creator's image, and commit
Treason 'gainst awful Nature. Oh! my lord,
Collect your serious temper, and put of
The over-weaning fantasies of youth;
Consider what a vain deluding breath
Is reputation, if compar'd with life;
Think, that an idle or detracting word
May, by a fair submission, which our laws
Of honour do require and will enforce,
Be wash'd away; but the red guilt of blood
Sticks, as a black infection, to the soul,
That, like an Æthiop, cannot be wash'd white:
Think upon this, and know, I must, with grief,
Pronounce your fatal sentence.
Enter Sabelli disguised in female apparel, accompanied with virgins.
Sab. My honour'd lord,
The charity I owe my native country,
That, in the ruin of this brave young man,
Would suffer infinitely, has forc'd us strive,
With early zeal, first to present our duties
For his redemption, 'mong ten thousand virgins
That would attempt it; and my true affection
Has won this favour from my fellows, that
To me they yield their interest, which I claim
As my desir'd prerogative.
Tri. 'Tis an act the State will thank you for, unveil yourself,
That we may know to whom we owe our gratitude.
A most excelling beauty! such an eye
Would tempt religious coldness to a flame,
Thaw age's chilly frost; at such a cheek,
The Spring might take a pattern to create
A most accomplish'd freshness; in her looks
Are modest signs of innocence, such as saints
Wear in their liveliest counterfeits. Doria, hear-
A lady begs you; whom, if you refuse,
The times would black you with the hateful title
Of your own wilful murder: take her to you,
And live a fortunate husband.
Dor. Noble maid! my misery is so extreme a sum, It cannot meet your bounty without breach
Of vows, which, should I violate, would pull
Eternal torments on me: keep your beauty
For one whose soul, free as the air he breathes,
Can yield a mutual fancy to your flame,
And not destroy his honour for your goodness;
Since my expir'd date cannot yield you thanks
Worthy the boundless merit of your love,
If there can be a gratitude after death
Express'd by prayers, my soul in heav'n shall pay it
To your kind charity.
Sab. O, my lord!
I did expect this answer; my poor worth
Cannot deserve your value; yet there is
A constant purity in my thoughts, that intend you
So much of bliss, that had your safety no
Dependence on my suit, it would be deem'd
Most cruel to contemn me. I have lov'd you
These many years; wish'd you as many glories
As I have number'd days; have vow'd I never
marry any man but your blest self, my lord:
Should you neglect the justness of my request,
Besides the danger waiting on your life,
A thousand virgins, whose unspotted prayers,
Like hosts of guardian angels, would have borne
You on their wings to heaven, will, for my sake,
Convert their zeal to curses, and, in tears
Of anguish, drown your memory.
Vit. Why, friend, this is
Such an o'er-weening passion as does question
The soundness of your judgment, fills the world
With a conceit you die, because your fears
Dare not accept of life. Besides your mistress,
To whom you would so strictly keep your faith,
Does so much scorn your constancy, that no