The Same. A Room in GUIDO’S Palace. Enter GUIDO and RITTA.
RITTA. There now, my lord, that is the whole
I love my mistress more than I fear you.
If I could save her finger from the axe,
I’d give my head to do it. So, my lord,
I am prepared to stew.
GUIDO. Boil, Ritta, boil.
RITTA. No; I prefer to stew.
GUIDO. And I to boil.
RITTA. Tis very hard, my lord, I cannot choose
My way of cooking. I shall laugh, I vow,
In the grim headsman’s face, when I remember
That I am dying for my lady’s love.
I leave no one to shed a tear for me;
Father nor mother, kith nor kin, have I,
To say, “Poor Ritta!” o’er my lifeless clay.
They all have gone before me, and ’twere well
If I could hurry after them.
GUIDO. Poor child. [Aside.]
But, baggage, said you aught of Lanciotto?
RITTA. No, not a word; and he’s so ugly, too!
GUIDO. Is he so ugly?
RITTA. Ugly! he is worse
Than Pilate on the hangings.
GUIDO. Hold your tongue
Here, and at Rimini, about the Count,
And you shall prosper.
RITTA. Am I not to boil?
GUIDO. No, child. But be discreet at Rimini.
Old Malatesta is a dreadful man—
Far worse than I—he bakes his people, Ritta;
Lards them, like geese, and bakes them in an oven.
RITTA. Fire is my fate, I see that.
GUIDO. Have a
It do not follow you beyond this world.
Where is your mistress?
RITTA. In her room, my lord.
After I told her of the Count Paolo,
She flew to have an interview with you;
But on the way—I know not why it was—
She darted to her chamber, and there stays
Weeping in silence. It would do you good—
More than a hundred sermons—just to see
A single tear, indeed it would, my lord.
GUIDO. Ha! you are saucy. I
have honoured you
Past prudence, malpert! Get you to your room!
More of my blood runs in yon damsel’s veins
Than the world knows. Her mother to a shade;
The same high spirit, and strange martyr-wish
To sacrifice herself, body and soul,
For some loved end. All that she did for me;
And yet I loved her not. O! memory!
The darkest future has a ray of hope,
But thou art blacker than the sepulchre!
Thy horrid shapes lie round, like scattered bones,
Hopeless forever! I am sick at heart.
The past crowds on the present: as I sowed,
So am I reaping. Shadows from myself
Fall on the picture, as I trace anew
These rising spectres of my early life,
And add their gloom to what was dark before.
O! memory, memory! How my temples throb! [Sits.