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Then turn we to her latest Tribune's name,

From her ten thousand tyrants turn to thee,

Redeemer of dark centuries of shame

The friend of Petrarch hope of Italy,

Rienzi, last of Romans ! While the tree

Of Freedom's wither'd trunk puts forth a leaf

Even for thy tomb a garland let it be

The Forum's champion and the People's chief

Her new-born Numa thou !

CHILDF. HAROLD, cant. iv. stanza 114.

Amidst the indulgence of enthusiasm and eloquence, Petrarch, Italy, and
Europe, were astonished by a revolution, which realized for a moment his
most splendid visions. GIBBON, chap. Ixx.







In motto to Book vii./or lib. xi. read lib. ii.
Page 34, line 16, defe wielded.

61, 16, for eight read seven.
72, 21, /or their poet read the poet.
133, 9, defe purchased.


Fu rincbiuso in una torre grossa e larga ; avea libri assai
suo Tito Livio, sue storie di Roma, la Bibbia, &c.

Vit. di COLA DI RIE>ZI, lib. xi. c. xiii.






R I E N Z I,




Fu rincbiuso in una torre grossa e larga ; avea libri assai
suo Tito Livio, sue storie di Roma, la Bibbia, &c.

Vit. di COLA DI RIE>ZI, lib. xi. c. xiii.






THERE is this difference between the drama of
Shakspeare, and that of almost every other
master of the same art ; that in the first, the
catastrophe is rarely produced by one single
cause one simple and continuous chain of
events. Various and complicated agencies
work out the final end. Unfettered by the rules
of time and place, each time, each place de-
picted, presents us with its appropriate change
of action, or of actors. Sometimes the interest

B 2


seems to halt, to turn aside, to bring us un-
awares upon objects hitherto unnoticed, or
upon qualities of the characters, hitherto
hinted at, not developed. But, in reality, the
pause in the action is but to collect, to gather
up, and to grasp, all the varieties of circumstance
that conduce to the Great Result: and the
vulgar art of fiction is only deserted for the
nobler fidelity of history. Whoever seeks to
place before the world the true representation of
a man's life and times, and, enlarging the Dra-
matic into the Epic, extends his narrative over
the vicissitudes of years, will find himself un-
consciously, in this, the imitator of Shakspeare.
New characters, each conducive to the end
new scenes, each leading to the last, rise before
him as he proceeds, sometimes seeming to the
reader to delay, even while they advance, the
dread catastrophe. The sacrificial procession
sweeps along, swelled by new comers, losing
many that first joined it; before, at last, the
same as a whole, but differing in its components,
the crowd reach the fated bourne of the Altar
and the Victim !


It is five years after the date of the events I
have recorded, and my story conveys us to the
Papal Court at Avignon that tranquil seat of
power, to which the successors of St. Peter had
transplanted the luxury, the pomp, and the vices,
of the Imperial city. Secure from the fraud or
violence of a powerful and barbarous nobility, the
courtiers of the see surrendered themselves to a
holiday of delight their repose was devoted to
enjoyment, and Avignon presented, at that day,
perhaps the gayest and most, voluptuous society
of Europe. The elegance of Clement VI. had
diffused an air of literary refinement over the
sensualities of the spot, and the penetrative
spirit of Petrarch still continued to work its
way through the councils of faction, and the
orgies of debauch.

Innocent VI. had lately succeeded Clement,
and whatever his own claims to learning, he
at least appreciated knowledge and intellect
in others and the graceful pedantry of the
time continued to mix itself with the pursuit
of pleasure. The corruption which reigned
through the whole place was too confirmed to


yield to the example of Innocent, himself a man
of simple habits and exemplary life. Though,
like his predecessor, obedient to the policy of
France, Innocent possessed a hard and an ex-
tended ambition. Deeply concerned for the
interests of the Church, he formed the project
of confirming and re-establishing her shaken do-
minion in Italy and he regarded the tyrants
of the various states as the principal obstacles
to his ecclesiastical ambition. Nor was this the
policy of Innocent VI. alone. With such ex-
ceptions as peculiar circumstances necessarily
occasioned the Papal See was upon the whole
friendly to the political liberties of Italy. The
Republics of the middle ages grew up under
the shadow of the Church ; and there, as else-
where, it was found, contrary to a vulgar opinion,
that Religion, however prostituted and pervert-
ed served for the general protection of civil
freedom raised the lowly and resisted the op-

At this period, there appeared at Avignon, a
lady of singular and matchless beauty. She had
come with a slender but well appointed retinue


from Florence, but declared herself of Neapoli-
tan birth ; the widow of a noble of the bril-
liant court of the unfortunate Jane. Her name
was Caesarini. Arrived at a place, where even in
the citadel of Christianity, Venus retained her
ancient empire, where Love made the prime bu-
siness of life, and to be beautiful was to be of
power ; the Signora Caesarini had scarcely ap-
peared in public before she saw at her feet
half the rank and gallantry of Avignon. Her
female attendants were beset with bribes and
billets; and nightly beneath her lattice was
heard the plaintive serenade. She entered
largely into the gay dissipations of the town,
and her charms shared the celebrity of the hour
with the verse of Petrarch. But though she
frowned on none, none could claim the mono-
poly of her smiles. Her fair fame was as yet un-
blemished; but if any might presume beyond
the rest, she seemed to have selected rather
from ambition than love, and Giles, the war-
like Cardinal D'Albornoz, all powerful at the
sacred court, already foreboded the hour of his


It was late noon, and in the antechamber of
the fair Signora waited two of that fraternity of
pages, fair and richly clad, which, at that day,
furnished the favourite attendants to rank of
either sex.

" By my troth," cried one of these young
servitors, pushing from him the dice with which
himself and his companion had sought to be-
guile their leisure, " this is but dull work !
and the best part of the day is gone. Our lady
s late."

" And I have donned my new velvet mantle.
Daylight will be over before it has its oppor-
tunity of admiration !" replied the other, com-
passionately eyeing his finery.

" Chut Giacomo," said his comrade yawn-
ing; "a truce with thy conceit. What news
abroad, I wonder. Has his Holiness come to
his senses yet?'

" His senses, what is he mad then !" quoth
Giacomo, in a serious and astonished whisper.

" I think he is ; if being Pope, he does not
discover that he may at length lay aside mask
and hood. ' Continent Cardinal lewd Pope,'


is the old motto, you know; something must
be the matter with the good man's brain, if he
continue to live like a hermit."

" Oh, I have you ! But faith, his Holiness
has proxies eno'. The bishops take care to
prevent women, Heaven bless them, going out
of fashion ; and his Eminence of Albornoz does
not maintain your proverb, touching the Car-

" True, but Giles is a warrior, a cardinal
in the church, but a soldier out of it."

" Will he carry the fort here, think you,

" Why, fort is female, but '

"But what?"

" That brow of the Signora's is made for
power, rather than love, fair as it is. She sees
in Albornoz the prince, and not the lover.
With what a step she sweeps the floor, it dis-
dains even the cloth of gold."

" Hark !" cried Giacomo, hastening to the
lattice, "hear you the hoofs below? Ah, a
gallant company !"

" Returned from hawking, a foreign sport,

B 5


but a gentle,'* answered Angelo, regarding wist-
fully the cavalcade, as it swept the narrow
street. " Plumes waving, steeds curvetting see
how yon handsome cavalier presses close to that
dame !"

" His mantle is the colour of mine," sighed

As the gay procession paced slowly on, till
hidden by the winding street, and as the sound
of laughter and the tramp of horses was yet
faintly heard, there gloomed right before the
straining gaze of the pages, a dark massive
tower of the mighty masonry of the eleventh
century : the sun gleamed sadly on its vast and
dismal surface, which was only here and there
relieved by loop-holes and narrow slits, rather
than casements. It was a striking contrast to
the gaiety around, the glittering shops, and
the gaudy train that had just filled the space
below. This contrast the young men seemed
involuntarily to feel; they drew back, and
looked at each other.

" I know your thoughts, Giacomo," said
Angelo, the handsomer and elder of the two.


" you think yon tower affords but a gloomy
lodgement ?"

" And I thank my stars that made me not
high enough to require so grand a cage," re-
joined Giacomo.

" Yet," observed Angelo, " it holds one, who
in birth was not our superior."

" Do tell me something of that strange man,"
said Giacomo, regaining his seat; "you are Ro-
man and should know."

" Yes !" answered Angelo, haughtily draw-
ing himself up. " I am Roman ! and I should be
unworthy my birth, if I had not already learned
what honour is due to the name of Cola di

" Yet your fellow-Romans nearly stoned him,
I fancy," muttered Giacomo. " Honour seems
to lie more in kicks than money. Can you tell
me," continued the page in a louder key
" can you tell me if it be true, that Rienzi
appeared at Prague before the Emperor, and
prophesied that the late Pope and all the Car-
dinals should be murdered, and a new Italian
Pope elected, who should endue the Emperor


with a golden crown, as Sovereign of Sicilia,
Calabria, and Apulia,* and himself with a
crown of silver, as king of Rome, and all Italy ?

" Hush !" interrupted Angelo, impatiently.
" Listen to me, and you shall know the exact
story. On last leaving Rome (thou knowest
that after his fall, he was present at the Jubilee
in disguise) the Tribune " here Angelo, paus-
ing, looked round, and then with a flushed cheek
and raised voice resumed, " Yes, the Tribune,
that was and shall be travelled in disguise, as
a pilgrim, over mountain and forest, night and
day, exposed to rain and storm, no shelter but
the cave, he who had been, they say, the very
spoilt one of luxury. Arrived at length in Bo-
hemia, he disclosed himself to a Florentine in
Prague, and through his aid obtained audience
of the Emperor Charles."

"A prudent man, the Emperor!" saidGiacomo,

" close fisted as a miser. He makes conquests by

bargain, and goes to market for laurels, as I

have heard my brother say, who was under him."

* An absurd fable adopted by certain historians.


" True but I also have heard that he likes
bookmen and scholars is wise and temperate,
and much is yet hoped from him in Italy !
Before the Emperor, I say, came Rienzi. ' Know
great Prince,' said he, ' that I am that
Rienzi to whom God gave to govern Rome, in
peace, with justice, and to freedom. I curbed
the nobles, I purged corruption, I amended law.
The powerful persecuted me pride and envy
have chased me from my dominions. Great
as you are, fallen as I am, I too have wielded
the sceptre and might have worn a crown.
Know too, that I am illegitimately of your
lineage ; my father the son of Henry VII ;*
the blood of the Teuton rolls in my veins;
mean as were my earlier fortunes and humble
my earlier name ! From you, O king, I seek
protection, and I demand justice/'

" A bold speech, and one from equal to
equal," said Giacomo ; " surely you swell us out
the words."

" Not a whit ; they were written down by the
Emperor's scribe, and every Roman who has
* Uncle to the Emperor Charles.


once heard knows them by heart : once every
Roman was the equal to a king, and Rienzi
maintained our dignity in asserting his own.' '

Giacomo, who discreetly avoided quarrels,
knew the weak side of his friend ; and though
in his heart he thought the Romans as good
for nothing a set of turbulent dastards as all
Italy might furnish, he merely picked a straw
from his mantle, and said in rather an impatient
tone, " Humph ! proceed ! did the Emperor dis-
miss him?"

" Not so Charles was struck with his bearing
and his spirit, received him graciously, and en-
tertained him hospitably. He remained some
time at Prague, and astonished all the learned
with his knowledge and eloquence."*

" But if so honoured at Prague, how comes
he a prisoner at Avignon ?"

"Giacomo," said Angelo, thoughtfully, "there

* His Italian coternporary delights in representing
this remarkable man as another Crichton. "Dispu-
tava/' he says of him when at Prague, " disputava
con Mastri di teologia; molto diceva, parlava cose
meravigliose, lingua diserta .... abbair fea ogni per-


are some men whom we of another mind and
mould can rarely comprehend and never fathom.
And of such men I have observed that a supreme
confidence in their own fortune or their own souls,
is the most common feature. Thus impressed,
and thus buoyed, they rush into danger with a
seeming madness, and from danger soar to
greatness, or sink to death. So with Rienzi ;
dissatisfied with empty courtesies and weary of
playing the pedant, since once he had played the
prince ; some say of his own accord, (though
others relate that he was surrendered to the
Pope's legate by Charles,) he left the Emperor's
court, and without arms, without money, betook
himself at once to Avignon ! "

" Madness indeed !"

" Yet, perhaps his only course, under all cir-
cumstances," resumed the elder page. " Once
before his fall, and once during his absence
from Rome, he had been excommunicated by
the Pope's legate. He was accused of heresy
the ban was still on him. It was necessary
that he should clear himself. How was the
poor exile to do so ? No powerful friend stood


up for the friend of the people. No courtier
vindicated one who had trampled on the neck
of the nobles. His own genius was his only
friend ; on that only could he rely. He sought
Avignon to free himself from the accusations
against him ; and, doubtless, he hoped that there
was but one step from his acquittal to his re-
storation. Besides, it is certain that the Em-
peror had been applied to, formally to surrender
Rienzi. He had the choice before him ; for to
that sooner or later it must come to go free,
or to go in bonds as a criminal, or as a Ro-
man. He chose the latter. Wherever he
passed along, the people rose in every town, in
every hamlet. The name of the great Tribune
was honoured throughout all Italy. They be-
sought him not to rush into the very den of
peril they implored him to save himself for
that country he had sought to raise. I go to
vindicate myself, and to triumph,' was the Tri-
bune's answer. Solemn honours were paid him
in the cities through which he passed ; and I am
told that never ambassador, prince, or baron,
entered Avignon with so long a train as that


which followed into these very walls the path of
Cola di Rienzi."

" And on his arrival ?"

"He demanded an audience that he might
refute the charges against him. He flung down
the gage to the proud cardinals who had ex-
communicated him. He besought a trial."

" And what said the pope?"

" Nothing by word. Yon tower was his
answer !"

" A rough one !"

" But there have been longer roads than that
from the prison to the palace, and God made
not men like Rienzi for the dungeon and the

As Angel o said this with a loud voice, and
with all the enthusiasm with which the fame of
the fallen Tribune had inspired the youth of
Rome, he heard a sigh behind him. He turned
in some confusion, and at the door which ad-
mitted to the chamber occupied by the Signora
Caesarini, stood a female of noble presence.
Attired in the richest garments, gold and gems
were dull to the lustre of her dark eyes, and


as she now stood, erect and commanding, never
seemed brow more made for the regal crown
never did human beauty more fully consummate
the ideal of a heroine and a queen.

" Pardon me, Signora," said Angelo, hesita-
tingly ; " I spoke loud, I disturbed you ; but I
am Roman, and my theme was "

" Rienzi !" said the lady, approaching ; " a
fit one to stir a Roman heart. Nay no ex-
cuses they would sound ill on thy generous
lips. Ah, if " the Signora paused suddenly
and sighed again ; then in an altered and graver
tone she resumed " If fate restore Rienzi to
his proper fortunes, he shall know what thou
deemest of him."

" If you, lady, who are of Naples," said An-
gelo, with meaning emphasis, " speak thus of a
fallen exile, what must I have felt who acknow-
ledged a sovereign ?"

"Rienzi is not of Rome alone he is of
Italy of the world," returned the Signora.
" And you, Angelo, who have had the boldness
to speak thus of one fallen, have proved with
what loyalty you can serve those who have the
fortune to own vou."


As she spoke, the Signora looked at the Page's
downcast and blushing face long and wistfully,
with the gaze of one accustomed to read the soul
in the countenance.

" Men are often deceived," said she sadly, yet
with a half smile ; " but women rarely, save
in love. Would that Rome were filled with such
as you. Enough ! Hark ! Is that the sound
of hoofs in the court below ?"

" Madam," said Giacomo, bringing his man-
tle gallantly over his shoulder, " I see the ser-
vitors of his Eminence the Cardinal D'Al-
bornoz. It is his Eminence himself."

" It is well !" said the Signora, with a brighten-
ing eye. " I await his Eminence !" With
these words she withdrew by the door, through
which she had surprised the Roman page.




GILES, (or Egidio,) Cardinal D'Albornoz, was
one of the most remarkable men of that remark-
able time, so prodigal of genius. Boasting his
descent from the royal houses of Arragon and
Leon, he had early entered the church, and,
yet almost a youth, attained the archbishopric
of Toledo. But no peaceful career, however
brilliant, sufficed to his ambition. He could not
content himself with the honours of the church
unless they were the honours of a church
militant. In the war against the Moors, no
Spaniard had more highly distinguished himself,
and Alphonso XL king of Castile, had insisted
on receiving from the hand of the martial priest


the badge of knighthood. After the death of
Alphonso, who was strongly attached to him,
Albornoz repaired to Avignon, and obtained from
Clement VI. the cardinal's hat. With Innocent
he continued in high favour, and now, constantly
in the councils of the Pope, rumours of warlike
preparation, under the banners of Albornoz, for
the recovery of the papal dominions from the
various tyrants that usurped them, were already
circulated through the court Bold, sagacious, en-
terprising, and cold-hearted, with the valour of
the knight, and the cunning of the priest, such
was the character of Giles, Cardinal D' Albornoz.
Leaving his attendant gentlemen in the anti-
chamber, Albornoz was ushered into the apart-
ment of the Signora Csesarini. In person about
the middle height, the dark complexion of Spain
had faded, by thought and the wear of am-
bitious schemes, into a sallow, but hardy hue.
His brow was deeply furrowed, and though not
yet passed the prime of life, Albornoz might
seem to have entered age, but for the firmness
of his step, the slender elasticity of his frame,
and an eye which had acquired calmness and


depth from thought without losing any of the
brilliancy of youth.

" Beautiful signora," said the cardinal, bend-
ing over the hand of the Caesarini with a grace
which betokened more of the prince than of the
priest ; " the commands of his holiness have
detained me, I fear, beyond the hour in which
you vouchsafed to appoint my homage, but my
heart has been with you since we parted."

" The Cardinal D'Albornoz," replied the Sig-
nora gently withdrawing her hand, and seating
herself, "has so many demands on his time,
from the duties of his rank and renown, that
methinks to divert his attention for a few mo-
ments to less noble thoughts is a kind of treason
to his fame."

" Ah, lady," replied the Cardinal, " never was
my ambition so nobly directed as it is now. And
it were a prouder lot to be at thy feet than on
the throne of St. Peter."

A momentary blush passed over the cheek of
the Signora, yet it seemed the blush of indig-
nation as much as of vanity ; it was succeeded
by an extreme paleness. She paused before she


replied, and then fixing her large and haughty
eyes on the enamoured Spaniard, she said, in a
low voice,

" My Lord Cardinal, I do not affect to mis-
understand your words ; neither do I place them
to the account of a general gallantry. I am vain
enough to believe you imagine you speak truly
when you say you love me."

" Imagine ! as well might I imagine I be-
lieved in the sanctity of the Cross," answered
the priest

" Listen to me," returned the Signora. " She
whom the Cardinal Albornoz honours with his
love has a right to demand of him its proofs.
In the papal court, whose power like his? I
require you to exercise it for me."

" Speak, dearest lady, have your estates been
seized by the barbarians of these lawless times ?
Hath any dared to injure you? Lands and
titles, are these thy wish ? my power is thy

" Cardinal, no ! there is one thing dearer to
an Italian and a woman, than wealth or station
it is revenge !"


The Cardinal drew back from the flashing eye
that was bent upon him, but the spirit of her
speech touched a congenial chord.

" There," said he, after a little hesitation,
" there, spake high descent. Revenge is the
luxury of the well-born. Let serfs and churls
forgive an injury. Proceed, lady."

" Hast thou heard the last news from Rome ?"
said the Signora.

" Surely," replied the Cardinal, in some sur-
prise, " we were poor statesmen to be ignorant
of the condition of the capital of the papal
dominions. And my heart mourns for that un-
fortunate city; but wherefore wouldst thou
question me of Rome ? thou art "

" Roman ! know, my Lord, that I have a
purpose in calling myself of Naples. To your
discretion I entrust my secret I am of Rome !
Tell me of her state."

V Fairest one," returned the Cardinal, " I
should have known that that brow and presence
were not of the light Campania. My reason
should have told me that they bore the stamp of
the empress of the world. The state of Rome,"


continued Albornoz, in a graver tone, " is
briefly told. Thou knowest that after the fall of the
able but insolent Rienzi, Pepin Count of Minorbi-
no, (a creature of Montreal's,) who had assisted
in expelling him, would have betrayed Rome to
Montreal, but he was neither strong enough
nor wise enough and the Barons chased him
as he had chased the Tribunes. Some time
afterwards a new demagogue, John Cerroni, was
installed in the Capitol, He once more ex-
pelled the nobles; new revolutions ensued
the Barons were recalled. The weak successor
of Rienzi summoned the people to arms in
vain in terror and despair he abdicated his
power, and left the city a prey to the intermina-
ble feuds of the Orsini, the Colonna, and the

" Thus much I know, my Lord ; but when his

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