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Pri. Could words express the story I've to tell you, But use me as my dealings may deserve, And I may prove a friend.

Duke. The slave capitulates;

Give him the tortures.

Jaf. That you dare not do;

Your fear wont let you, nor the longing itch
To hear a story which you dread the truth of:
Truth, which the fear of smart shall ne'er get from me.
Cowards are scar'd with threat'nings: boys are whipp'd
Into confessions; but a steady mind

Acts of itself, ne'er asks the body's counsel.
Give him the tortures! Name but such a thing
Again, by heav'n I'll shut these lips for ever.
Not all your racks, your engines, or your wheels,
Shall force a groan away, that you may guess at.
Duke. Name your conditions.

Jaf. For myself full pardon,

Besides the lives of two-and-twenty friends,
Whose names are here enroll'd. Nay, let their crimes
Be ne'er so monstrous, I must have the oaths
And sacred promises of this reverend council,
That, in a full assembly of the senate
The thing I ask be ratified. Swear this,
And I'll unfold the secret of your danger.
Duke. Propose the oath.

Jaf. By all the hopes

Ye have of peace and happiness hereafter,
Swear. Ye swear?

All Sen. We swear. (All the Council bow.)
Jaf. And, as ye keep the oath,

May you and your posterity be bless'd

Or curs'd for ever.

All Sen. Else be curs'd for ever.

(They bow again.) Jaf. Then here's the list, and with't the full disclose Of all that threatens you. (Delivers a paper to the Officer, who gives it to the DUKE.)

Now, fate, thou hast caught me.

Duke. Give order that all diligent search be made

To seize these men; their characters are public.
(The Duke gives the first paper to the Officer.)
paper intimates their rendezvous

The

To be at the house of a fam'd Grecian courtezan,
Call'd Aquilina; see that place secur'd.

You, Jaffier, must with patience bear till morning
To be our prisoner.

Jaf. Would the chains of death

Had bound me safe, ere I had known this minute!
Duke. Captain, withdraw your prisoner.
Jaf. Sir, if possible,

Lead me where my own thoughts themselves may lose

me;

Where I may doze out what I've left of life,
Forget myself, and this day's guilt and falsehood.
Cruel remembrance! how shall I appease thee?

[Exit, guarded. Offi. (Without.) More traitors; room, room! make room there!

Duke. How's this? guards!

Where are your guards?

treason's

Already at our doors.

Shut up the gates; the

Enter Officer with PIERRE in fetters.

Offi. My lords, more traitors,

Seiz'd in the very act of consultation;

Furnish'd with arms, and instruments of mischief.
Pier. You, my lords, and fathers

(As you are pleas'd to call yourselves) of Venice;
If
you sit here to guide the course of justice,
Why these disgraceful chains upon the limbs
That have so often labour'd in your service?
Are these the wreaths of triumph ye bestow
On those that bring you conquest home, and honours?
Duke. Go on; you shall be heard, sir.

Pier. Are these the trophies I've deserv'd for fighting
Your battles with confederated powers?
When winds and seas conspir'd to overthrow you;

And brought the fleets of Spain to your own harbours;
When you, great duke, shrunk trembling in your palace,
And saw your wife, the Adriatic, plough'd,
Like a lewd dame, by bolder prows than yours;
Stepp'd not I forth, and taught your loose Venetians
The task of honour, and the way to greatness?
Rais'd you from your capitulating fears
To stipulate the terms of sued-for peace ?
And this my recompense!
If I'm a traitor,

Produce my charge; or show the wretch that's base
And brave enough to tell me I'm a traitor.

Duke. Know you one Jaffier?

Pier. Yes, and know his virtue.

His justice, truth, his general worth, and sufferings,
From a hard father taught me first to love him.
Duke. See him brought forth.

Enter JAFFIER, guarded.

Pier. My friend, too, bound! nay, then Our fate has conquer'd us, and we must fall. Why droops the man whose welfare's so much mine, They're but one thing? These reverend tyrants,

Jaffier,

Call us traitors; art thou one, my brother?

Jaf. To thee I am the falsest, veriest slave That e'er betray'd a generous, trusting friend, And gave up honour to be sure of ruin.

All our fair hopes which morning was t'have crown'd, Has this curst tongue o'erthrown.

Pier. So, then, all's over.

Venice has lost her freedom, I my life.
No more farewell!

Duke. Say will you make confession

Of

your vile deeds, and trust the senate's mercy ? Pier. Curs'd be your senate ! curs'd your constitution: The curse of growing factions and divisions Still vex your councils, shake your public safety, And make the robes of government you wear Hateful to you, as these base chains to me.

Duke. Pardon, or death?
Pier. Death! honourable death!
Duke. Break up the council.
prisoners.

Captain, guard your

Jaffier, you're free, but these must wait for judgment. [The Captain takes off JAFFIER's chains. The DUKE and Council go away. The Conspirators, all but JAFFIER and PIERRE go off, guarded.

Pier. Come, where's my dungeon? Lead me to my

straw:

It will not be the first time I've lodg'd hard

To do the senate service.

Jaf. Hold, one moment.

Pier. Who's he disputes the judgment of the senate? Presumptuous rebel! (Strikes JAFFIER.) On! (To

Officer.)

Jaf. By heav'n, you stir not!

I must be heard; I must have leave to speak.
Thou hast disgrac'd me, Pierre, by a vile blow:
Had not a dagger done thee nobler justice?
But use me as thou wilt, thou canst not wrong me;
For I am fallen beneath the basest injuries:
Yet look upon me with an eye of mercy,
With pity and with charity behold me:
And as there dwells a godlike nature in thee,
Listen with mildness to my supplications.

Pier. What whining monk art thou? what holy cheat,
That wouldst encroach upon my credulous ears,
And cant'st thus vilely? Hence! I know thee not:
Leave, hypocrite!

Jaf. Not know me, Pierre ?

What art thou?

Pier. No, I know thee not. Jaf. Jaffier, thy friend; thy once-loved, valued friend;

Though now deservedly scorn'd, and us'd most hardly. Pier. Thou, Jaffier! thou, my once-loved, valued friend!

By heavens, thou liest! the man so call'd, my friend,

Was generous, honest, faithful, just, and valiant;
Noble in mind, and in his person lovely;
Dear to my eyes, and tender to my heart:

But thou, a wretched, base, false, worthless coward,
Poor even in soul, and loathsome in thy aspect !
All eyes must shun thee, and all hearts detest thee.
Pr'ythee avoid; nor longer cling thus round me,
Like something baneful, that my nature's chill'd at.
Jaf. I have not wrong'd thee; by these tears I have

not.

Dar'st thou call

Pier. Hast thou not wrong'd me?

thyself

That once-loved, valued friend of mine, And swear thou hast not wrong'd me? Whence these chains?

Whence the vile death which I may meet this moment? Whence this dishonour, but from thee, thou false one? Jaf. All's true, yet grant one thing, and I've done asking.

Pier. What's that?

Jaf. To take thy life, on such conditions
The council have propos'd: thou and thy friends
May yet live long, and to be better treated.

Pier. Life! ask my life! confess! record myself
A villain, for the privilege to breathe!
And carry up and down this curs'd city,
A discontented and repining spirit,
Burthensome to itself, a few years longer;

To lose it, may be, at last, in a lewd quarrel

For some new friend, treacherous and false as thou art!
No, this vile world and I have long been jangling,
And cannot part on better terms than now,
When only men, like thee, are fit to live in't.

Jaf. By all that's just

Pier. Swear by some other powers,

For thou hast broke that sacred oath too lately.

Jaf. Then, by that hell I merit, I'll not leave thee, Till to thyself at least thou'rt reconcil'd, However thy resentment deal with me.

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