Pardon me; the portrait
That Fra Bastiano painted was for him.
Is that quite prudent?
That is the same question
Vittoria put to me, when I last saw her.
I make you the same answer. That was not
A pledge of love, but of pure gratitude.
Recall the adventure of that dreadful night
When Barbarossa with two thousand Moors
Landed upon the coast, and in the darkness
Attacked my castle. Then, without delay,
The Cardinal came hurrying down from Rome
To rescue and protect me. Was it wrong
That in an hour like that I did not weigh
Too nicely this or that, but granted him
A boon that pleased him, and that flattered me?
Only beware lest, in disguise of friendship
Another corsair, worse than Barbarossa,
Steal in and seize the castle, not by storm
But strategy. And now I take my leave.
Farewell; but ere you go look forth and see
How night hath hushed the clamor and the stir
Of the tumultuous streets. The cloudless moon
Roofs the whole city as with tiles of silver;
The dim, mysterious sea in silence sleeps;
And straight into the air Vesuvius lifts
His plume of smoke. How beautiful it is!
[Voices in the street.
Poisoned at Itri.
Poisoned? Who is poisoned?
The Cardinal Ippolito, my master.
Call it malaria. It was sudden.
A room in the Torre Argentina.
VITTORIA COLONNA and JULIA GONZAGA.
Come to my arms and to my heart once more;
My soul goes out to meet you and embrace you,
For we are of the sisterhood of sorrow.
I know what you have suffered.
Name it not.
Let me forget it.
I will say no more.
Let me look at you. What a joy it is
To see your face, to hear your voice again!
You bring with you a breath as of the morn,
A memory of the far-off happy days
When we were young. When did you come from Fondi?
I have not been at Fondi since—
You need not speak the word; I understand you.
I came from Naples by the lovely valley
The Terra di Lavoro.
And you find me
But just returned from a long journey northward.
I have been staying with that noble woman
Renee of France, the Duchess of Ferrara.
Oh, tell me of the Duchess. I have heard
Flaminio speak her praises with such warmth
That I am eager to hear more of her
And of her brilliant court.