BEATRICE [NOT NOTICING THE WORDS OF CENCI]:
Dare no one look on me?
None answer? Can one tyrant overbear
The sense of many best and wisest men?
Or is it that I sue not in some form 135
Of scrupulous law, that ye deny my suit?
O God! That I were buried with my brothers!
And that the flowers of this departed spring
Were fading on my grave! And that my father
Were celebrating now one feast for all! 140
132 no edition 1821; not edition 1819.
A bitter wish for one so young and gentle.
Can we do nothing?
Nothing that I see.
Count Cenci were a dangerous enemy:
Yet I would second any one.
Retire to your chamber, insolent girl! 145
Retire thou, impious man! Ay, hide thyself
Where never eye can look upon thee more!
Wouldst thou have honour and obedience
Who art a torturer? Father, never dream,
Though thou mayst overbear this company, 150
But ill must come of ill.—Frown not on me!
Haste, hide thyself, lest with avenging looks
My brothers’ ghosts should hunt thee from thy seat!
Cover thy face from every living eye,
And start if thou but hear a human step: 155
Seek out some dark and silent corner, there,
Bow thy white head before offended God,
And we will kneel around, and fervently
Pray that he pity both ourselves and thee.
My friends, I do lament this insane girl 160
Has spoilt the mirth of our festivity.
Good night, farewell; I will not make you longer
Spectators of our dull domestic quarrels.
[EXEUNT ALL BUT CENCI AND BEATRICE.]
My brain is swimming round;
Give me a bowl of wine!
Thou painted viper! 165
Beast that thou art! Fair and yet terrible!
I know a charm shall make thee meek and tame,
Now get thee from my sight!
Fill up this goblet with Greek wine. I said
I would not drink this evening; but I must; 170
For, strange to say, I feel my spirits fail
With thinking what I have decreed to do.—
[DRINKING THE WINE.]
Be thou the resolution of quick youth
Within my veins, and manhood’s purpose stern,
And age’s firm, cold, subtle villainy; 175
As if thou wert indeed my children’s blood
Which I did thirst to drink! The charm works well;
It must be done; it shall be done, I swear!
END OF ACT 1.