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Holiness succeeded to the chair of Clement
VI.-"

" Then," said Albornoz and a slight frown
darkened his sallow brow " then came the
blacker part of the history. Two senators were
elected in concert by the Pope."

VOL. III. C



26 RIENZI,

" Their names ?"

" Bertoldo Orsini, and one of the Colonna.
A few weeks afterwards, the high price of pro-
visions stung the rascal stomachs of the mob
they rose, they clamoured, they armed, they be-
sieged the Capitol "

" Well, well," cried the Signora, clasping her
hands, and betokening in every feature her in-
terest in the narration.

" Colonna only escaped death by a vile dis-
guise, Bertoldo Orsini was stoned."

" Stoned ! there fell one !"

" Yes, lady, one of a great house ; the least
drop of whose blood were worth an ocean of
plebeian puddle. At present all is disorder,
misrule, anarchy at Rome. The contests of the
nobles shake the city to the centre ; and prince
and people, wearied of so many experiments to
establish a government, have now no governor
but the fear of the sword. Such, fair madam, is
the state of Rome. Sigh not, it occupies now
our care. It shall be remedied, and I, madam,
may be the happy instrument of restoring peace
to your native city.""



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 27

" There is but one way of restoring peace to
Rome," answered the Signora, abruptly, " and
that is The restoration of Rienzi !"

The cardinal started. "Madam," said he,
" do I hear aright are you not nobly born
can you desire the rise of a plebeian ? Did you
not speak of revenge, and now you ask for
mercy ?"

" Lord Cardinal," said the beautiful Signora,
earnestly, " I do not ask for mercy, such a word
is not for the lips of one who demands justice.
Nobly born I am ay, and from a stock to whose
long descent from the patricians of ancient
Rome, the high line of Arragon itself would be of
yesterday. Nay, I would not offend your Emi-
nence ; your greatness is not borrowed from pedi-
grees and tombstones your greatness is your
own achieving : would you speak honestly, my
Lord, you would own that you are proud only of
your own laurels, and that, in your heart, you
laugh at the stately fools who trick themselves
out in the mouldering finery of the dead !"

" Muse ! prophetess ! you speak aright,"
said the high-spirited Cardinal, with unwonted

c2



28 RIENZI,

energy ; " and your voice is like that of the
Fame I dreamt of in my youth. Speak on, speak
ever !"

" Such," continued the Signora, " such as
your pride, is the just pride of Rienzi. Proud
that he is the workman of his own great renown.
In such as the Tribune of Rome we acknowledge
the founders of noble lineage. Ancestry makes
not them they make ancestry. Enough of this.
I am of noble race, it is true, but my house, and
those of many, have been crushed and broken
beneath the yoke of the Orsini and Colonna it
is against them I desire revenge. But I am
better than an Italian lady I am a Roman wo-
man I weep "tears of blood for the disorders of
my unhappy country. I mourn, that even you,
my Lord, yes, that a barbarian, however emi-
nent and however great, should mourn for Rome.
I desire to restore her fortunes."

" But Rienzi would only restore his own."

" Not so, my Lord Cardinal, not so. Vain,

ambitious, proud he may be great souls are

so but he has never had one wish divorced

from the welfare of Rome. But put aside all



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 29

thought of his interests it is not of these I
speak. You desire to re-establish the papal
power in Rome. Your senators have failed to
do it. Demagogues fail Rienzi alone can suc-
ceed ; he alone can command the turbulent pas-
sions of the Barons he alone can sway the
capricious and fickle mob. Release, restore
Rienzi, and through Rienzi the Pope regains
Rome ! "

The Cardinal did not answer for some mo-
ments. Buried as in a reverie, he sate motion-
less, shading his face with his hand. Perhaps
he secretly owned there was a wiser policy in
the suggestions of the Signora than he cared
openly to confess. Lifting his hand, at length,
from his bosom, he fixed his eyes upon the Sig-
nora's watchful countenance, and, with a forced
smile, said,

" Pardon me, madam ; but while we play the
politicians, forget not that I am thy adorer.
Sagacious may be thy counsels, yet wherefore
are they urged ? Why this anxious interest for
Rienzi ? If by releasing him the church may
gain an ally, am I sure that Giles d'Albornoz
will not raise a rival ? "



30 RIENZI,

" My Lord," said the signora, half rising,
" you are my suitor, but your rank does not
tempt me your gold cannot buy. If you love
me, I have a right to command your services to
whatsoever task I would require it is the law
of chivalry. If ever I yield to the addresses of
mortal lover, it will be to the man who restores
to my native land her hero and her saviour."

" Fair patriot," said the Cardinal, " your
words encourage my hope, yet they half damp
my ambition, for fain would I desire that love
and not service should alone give me the trea-
sure that I ask. But hear me, sweet lady ; you
over-rate my power, I cannot deliver Rienzi
he is accused of rebellion, he is excommunicated
for heresy. His acquittal rests with himseli"

" You can procure his trial "

" Perhaps, lady"

" That is his acquittal ! and, a private au-
dience of his Holiness !"

" Doubtless."

" That is his restoration. Behold all I ask !"

" And then, sweet Roman, it will be mine to
ask," said the Cardinal, passionately, dropping



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 31

on his knee, and taking the Signora's hand.
For one moment, that proud lady felt that she
was woman she blushed, she trembled ; but it
was not (could the Cardinal have read that heart)
with passion or with weakness ; it was with ter-
ror and with shame. Passively she surrendered
her hand to the Cardinal, who covered it with
kisses.

" Tims inspired," said Albornoz, rising, " I
will not doubt of success. To-morrow I wait
on thee again."

He pressed her hand to his heart the lady
felt it not. He sighed his farewell she did
not hear it. Lingeringly he gazed ; and slowly
he departed. But it was some moments, before
recalled to herself, the Signora felt that she was
alone.

" Alone ! " she cried, half-aloud, and with
wild emphasis " alone ! Oh, what have I
undergone what have I said ! Unfaithful, even
in thought, to him ! Oh, never ! never ! I, that
have felt the kiss of his hallo wing lips that have
slept on his kingly heart I ! holy Mother,
befriend and strengthen me ! " she continued,



32 RIENZI,

as weeping bitterly, she sunk upon her knees :
and for some moments she was lost in prayer.
Then, rising composed, but deadly pale, and
with the tears rolling heavily down her cheeks,
the Signora passed slowly to the casement ; she
threw it open, and leant forward ; the air of
the declining day came softly on her temples ;
it cooled, it mitigated, the fever that preyed
within. Dark and huge before her, frowned in
its gloomy shadow, the tower, in which Ri-
enzi lay a prisoner and a criminal, she gazed at
it long and wistfully ; and then, turning away,
drew from the folds of her robe a small and
sharp dagger. " Let me save him for glory !"
she murmured ; " and this shall save me from
dishonour !"



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 33



CHAPTER III.

HOLY MEN SAGACIOUS DELIBERATIONS JUST HE-
SOLVES AND SORDID MOTIVES TO ALL.

ENAMOURED of the beauty, and almost equally so
of the lofty spirit, of the Signora Caesarini, as was
the warlike Cardinal of Spain, love with him
was not so master a passion as that ambition of
complete success in all the active designs of
life, which had hitherto animated his character,
and signalized his career. Musing, as he left
the Signora, on her wish for the restoration of
the Roman Tribune, his experienced and pro-
found intellect ran swiftly through whatever
advantages might result from that restoration to
his own political designs. We have already
seen that it was the intention of the new pon-

c 5



34 RIENZI,

tiff to attempt the recovery of the Patrimonial
territories, now torn from him by the gripe of
able and disaffected tyrants. With this view,
a military force was already in preparation, and
the Cardinal was already secretly nominated
the chief. But the force was very inadequate
to the enterprise; and Albornoz depended
much upon the moral strength of the cause in
bringing recruits to his standard in his progress
through the Italian states. The wonderful rise
of Rienzi had excited an extraordinary enthu-
siasm in his favour through all the free popula-
tions of Italy. And this had been yet more
kindled and inflamed by the influential eloquence
of Petrarch, who, at that time possessed of a power
greater than ever wielded, before or since, (not
even excepting the Sage of Ferney,) wielded by
a single literary man had put forth his boldest
genius in behalf of the Roman Tribune. Such
a companion as Rienzi in the camp of the Car-
dinal might be a magnet of attraction to the
youth and enterprise of Italy. On nearing
Rome, he might himself judge how far it would
be advisable to reinstate Rienzi as a delegate



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 35

of the papal power. And, in the meanwhile,
the Roman's influence might be serviceable,
whether to awe the rebellious nobles, or con-
ciliate the stubborn people. On the other hand,
the Cardinal was shrewd enough to perceive that
no possible good could arise from Rienzi's pre-
sent confinement. With every month it excited
deeper and more universal sympathy. To his
lonely dungeon turned half the hearts of republi-
can Italy. Literature had leagued its new and
sudden, and therefore mighty and even dispro-
portioned power, with his cause : and the
Pope, without daring to be his judge, incurred
the odium of being his jailor. " A popular
prisoner," said the sagacious Cardinal to him-
self, " is the most dangerous of guests. Re-
store him as your servant, or destroy him
as your foe ! In this case, I see no alter-
native, but acquittal or the knife ! " In these
reflections, that able plotter, deep in the Ma-
chiavelism of the age, divorced the lover from
the statesman.

Recurring now to the former character, he felt
some disagreeable and uneasy forebodings at the



36 RIENZI,

earnest interest of his mistress. Fain would he
have attributed either to some phantasy of pa-
triotism, or some purpose of revenge, the anxiety
of the Csesarini ; and there was much in her
stern and haughty character which favoured that
* belief. But he was forced to acknowledge to
himself some jealous apprehension of a sinister
and latent motive, which touched his vanity and
alarmed his love. " Howbeit," he thought , as
he turned from his unwilling fear, " I can play
with her at her own weapons ; I can obtain the
release of Rienzi, and claim my reward. If denied,
the hand that opened the dungeon, can again
rivet the chain. In her anxiety is my power ! "
These thoughts the Cardinal was still revolv-
ing in his palace, when he was suddenly sum-
moned to attend the Pontiff.

The pontifical palace no longer exhibited the
gorgeous, yet graceful luxury of Clement VI.,
and the sarcastic Cardinal smiled to himself at
the quiet gloom of the antechambers. "He
thinks to set an example this poor native
of Limoges !" thought Albornoz, " and has



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 37

but the mortification of finding himself eclipsed
by the poorest bishop. He humbles himself!,
and fancies that the humility will be conta-
gious."

His Holiness was seated before a small and
rude table, bestrewed with papers, his face '
buried in his hands ; the room was simply fur-
nished, and, in a small niche beside the case-
ment, was an ivory crucifix; below, the death's
head and cross-bones, which most monks then
introduced with a purpose similar to that of the an-
cients by the like ornaments, mementoes of the
shortness of life, and therefore admonitions to
make the best of it ! On the ground lay a map of
the Patrimonial territory, with the fortresses in es-
pecial, distinctly and prominently marked. The
Pope gently lifted up his head as the Cardinal
was announced, and discovered a plain, but
sensible and somewhat interesting, countenance.
" My son ! " said he, with a kindly courtesy,
to the lowly salutation of the proud Spaniard,
" scarcely wouldst thou imagine, after our long
conference this morning, that new cares would
so soon demand the assistance of thy counsels.



38 RIEKZI,

Verily, the wreath of thorns stings sharp under
the triple crown ; and I sometimes long for
the quiet abode of my old professor's chair in
Toulouse : my station is of pain and toil."

" God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb,"
observed the Cardinal with pious and compas-
sionate gravity.

Innocent could scarcely refrain a smile as he
replied, " The lamb that carries the cross must
have the strength of the lion. Since we part-
ed, my son, I have had painful intelligence ; our
couriers have arrived from the Campagna the
heathen rage furiously the force of John di
Vico has augmented fearfully, and the most re-
doubted adventurer of Europe has enlisted un-
der his banner."

" Does his Holiness," cried the Cardinal
anxiously, " speak of Fra Moreale, the Knight
of St. John."

" Of no less a warrior," returned the Pontiff.
" I dread the vast ambition of that wild ad-
venturer."

" Your Holiness hath cause," said the-.-Cardi-
nal drily.



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 39

" Some letters of his have fallen into the
hands of the servant of the Church ; they are
here : read them, my son."

Albornoz received and deliberately scanned
the letters this done, he replaced them on the
table, and remained for a few moments silent
and absorbed.

" What think you, my son," said the Pope, at
length with an impatient and even peevish tone.

" I think that with Montreal's hot genius and
John di Vico's frigid villainy, your Holiness may
live to envy, if not the quiet, at least the reve-
nue, of the professor's chair."

" How, Cardinal !"' said the pope, hastily, and
with an angry flush on his pale brow. The Car-
dinal quietly proceeded.

" By these letters it seems that Montreal has
written to all the commanders of free lances
throughout Italy, offering the highest pay of a sol-
dier to every man that will join his standard,
combined with the richest plunder of a brigand.
He meditates great schemes then ! I know the
man!"

" Well, and our course ?"



RIENZI



" Is plain," said the Cardinal loftily, and with
an eye that flashed with a soldier's fire. " Not a
moment is to be lost ! Thy son should at once
take the field. Up with the banner of the
Church!"

" But are we strong enough? our numbers are
few. Zeal slackens ! the piety of the Baldwins
is no more !"

" Your Holiness knows well," said the Cardi-

t

nal, " that for the multitude of men there are
two watchwords of war Liberty and Religion.
If religion begin to fail, we must employ the
profaner word. ' Up with the banner of the
church and down with the tyrants ! ' We will
proclaim equal laws, and free government, and,
God willing, our camp shall prosper better with
those promises than the tents of Montreal with
the more vulgar shout of ' Pay and Rapine.' "
" Giles D'Albornoz," said the Pope, empha-
tically, and warmed by the spirit of the Cardi-
nal, he dropped the wonted etiquette of phrase,
" I trust implicitly to you. Now the right hand
of the church, hereafter perhaps its head. Too
well I feel that the lot has fallen on a lowly



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 41

place. My successor must requite my defi-
ciencies."

No changing hue, no brightening glance, be-
trayed to the searching eye of the Pope whatever
emotion these words had called up in the breast
of the ambitious Cardinal. He bowed his proud
head humbly as he answered, " Pray heaven
that Innocent VI. may long live to guide the
church to glory. For Giles D'Albornoz, less
priest than soldier, the din of the camp, the
breath of the war-steed, present the only aspira-
tions which he ever dares indulge. But has your
Holiness imparted to your servant all that -"

" Nay," interrupted Innocent, " I have yet in-
telligence equally ominous. This John di Vico,
pest go with him ! who still styles himself (the
excommunicated ruffian !) Prefect of Rome, has
so filled that unhappy city with his emissaries,
that we have well nigh lost the seat of the Apos-
tle. Rome, long in anarchy, seems now in open
rebellion. The nobles sons of Belial it is true,
are once more humbled ; but how ? one Baron-
celli, a new demagogue, the fiercest the most
bloody that the fiend ever helped has arisen



42 RIENZI,

is invested by the mob with power, and uses it
to butcher the people and insult the Pontiff.
Wearied of the crimes of this man, (which are
not even decorated by ability,) the shout of the
people day and night, along the streets, is for
* Rienzi the Tribune.' "

" Ha!" said the Cardinal, " llienzi's faults
then are forgotten in Rome, and there is felt for
him the same enthusiasm in that city as in the
rest of Italy."
" Alas ! it is so."

" It is well, I have thought of this, Rienzi
can accompany my progress "

" My son ! the rebel, the heretic "
" By your Holiness's absolution will become
quiet subject and orthodox Catholic," said
Albornoz. " Men are good or bad as they suit
our purpose. What matters a virtue that is use-
less, or a crime that is useful, to us ? The army
of the church proceeds against tyrants it pro-
claims everywhere the restoration to the Papal
towns of their popular constitutions. Sees not
your Holiness, that the acquittal of Rienzi, the
popular darli ng, will be hailed an earnest of your



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 43

sincerity sees not your Holiness that his name
will fight for us ? sees not your Holiness that
the great demagogue Rienzi must be used to
extinguish the little demagogue Baroncelli. We
must regain the Romans, whether of the city
or whether in the seven towns of John di Vice.
When they hear Rienzi is in our camp, trust me,
we shall have a multitude of deserters from the
tyrants trust me we shall hear no more of Ba-
roncelli."

" Ever sagacious," said the Pope musingly ;
" it is true, we can use this man ; but with cau-
tion. His genius is formidable, "

" And therefore must be conciliated; if we
acquit, we must make him ours. My experi-
ence has taught me this, when you cannot slay
a demagogue by law, crush him with honours.
He must be no longer Tribune of the People.
Give him the Patrician title of Senator, and he
is then the Lieutenant of the Pope !"

" I will see to this, my son your suggestions
please, but alarm me : he shall at least be ex-
amined ; but if found a heretic "

" Should, I humbly advise, be declared a
saint."



44 RIENZI,

The Pope bent his brow for a moment, but
the effort was too much for him, and after a
moment's struggle, he fairly laughed aloud.

"Go to, my son," said he, affectionately pat-
ting the Cardinal^ sallow cheek. " Go to,
If the world heard thee what would it say ?"

" That Giles D'Albornoz had just enough re-
ligion to remember that the State is a Church,
but not too much to forget that the Church
is a State."

With these words the conference ended.
That very evening the Pope decreed that Rienzi
should be permitted the trial he had demanded.



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 45



CHAPTER IV.

THE LADY AND THE PAGE.

IT wanted three hours of midnight, when Al-
bornoz, resuming his character of gallant, de-
spatched to the Signora Csesarini the follow-
ing billet.

" Your commands are obeyed. Rienzi will
receive an examination on his faith. It is well
that he should be prepared. It may suit your
purpose, of which I am so faintly enlightened,
to appear to the prisoner what you are the ob-
tainer of this grace ? See how implicitly one na-
ble heart can trust another ! I send by the
bearer an order that will admit one of your ser-
vitors to the prisoner's cell. Be it, if you will,
your task to announce to him, the new crisis of



46 RIENZI,

his fate. Ah ! madam, may fortune be as favoura-
ble to me, and grant me the same intercessor
from thy lips my sentence is to come."

As Albornoz finished this epistle, he sum-
moned his confidential attendant, a Spanish
gentleman, who saw nothing in his noble birth
that should prevent his fulfilling the various
hests of the Cardinal.

" Alvarez," said he, " these to the Sig-
nora Csesarini by another hand. Thou art
unknown to her household; repair to the
state tower, this to the governor admits thee.
Mark who is admitted to the prisoner Cola
di Rienzi ! Know his name, examine whence
he comes. Be keen, Alvarez. Learn by what
motive the Csesarini interests herself in the
prisoner's fate. All too of herself, birth,
fortunes, lineage, would be welcome intelli-
gence. Thou comprehendest me. It is well
One caution thou hast no mission from, no
connexion with, me. Thou art an oificer of the
prison, or of the Pope, what thou wilt. Give
me the rosary ; light the lamp before the crucifix ;
place yon hair shirt beneath those arms. I



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 47

would have it appear as if meant to be hidden !
Tell Gomez that the Dominican preacher is to
be admitted."

" Those friars have zeal," continued the Car-
dinal to himself, as, after executing his orders,
Alvarez withdrew. " They would burn a man,
but only on the Bible ! They are worth con-
ciliating, if the triple crown be really worth the
winning ; were it mine, I would add the eagle's
plume to it."

And plunged into the aspiring future, this
bold man forgot even the object of his passion.
In real life, after a certain age, ambitious men
love indeed; but it is only as an interlude.
And indeed with most men, life has more ab-
sorbing though not more frequent concerns than
those of love. Love is the business of the idle,
but the idleness of the busy.

The Csesarini was alone when the Cardinal's
messenger arrived, and he was scarcely dis-
missed with a few lines, expressive of a gra-
titude which seemed to bear down all those
guards with which the coldness of the Sig-



48 RIENZI,

nora usually fenced her pride, before the page
Angelo was summoned to her presence.

The room was dark with the shades of the
gathering night when the youth entered, and
he discerned but dimly the outline of the
Signora's stately form ; but by the tone of her
voice, he perceived that she was deeply agitated.

" Angelo," said she, as he approached " An-
gelo" and her voice failed her. She paused as
for breath, and again proceeded. " You alone
have served us faithfully ; you alone shared our
escape, our wanderings, our exile you alone
know my secret you of my train alone are
Roman ! Roman ! it was once a great name.
Angelo, the name has fallen ; but it is only
because the nature of the Roman Race fell first.
Haughty they are, but fickle ; fierce, but das-
tard ; vehement in promise, but rotten in their
faith. You are a Roman, and though I have
proved your truth, your very birth makes me
afraid of falsehood."

" Madam," said the page, " I was but a
child when you admitted me of your service,



THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES. 49

and I am yet only on the verge of manhood.
But boy though I yet be, I would brave the
stoutest lance of knight, or freebooter, in defence
of the faith of Angelo Villani, to his liege
Lady and his native land."

" Alas ! alas !" said the Signora bitterly.
" Such have been the words of thousands of thy

N

race. What have been their deeds ! But I
will trust thee, as I have trusted ever. I know
that thou art covetous of honour, that thou
hast youth's comely and bright ambition ;"

" I am an orphan and a bastard," said An-
gelo, bluntly. " And circumstance stings me
sharply on to action; I would win my own
name."

" Thou shalt," said the Signora. " We shall
live yet to reward thee. And now be quick.
Bring hither one of thy page's suits, mantle and
head-gear. Quick, I say, and whisper not to a
soul what I have asked of thee."



VOL. III.



50 RIENZI,



CHAPTER V.

THE INMATE OF THE TOWER.

THE night slowly advanced, and in the highest
chamber of that dark and rugged tower which
fronted the windows of the Caesarini's palace,
sate a solitary prisoner. A single lamp burnt
before him on a table of stone, and threw its rays
over an open Bible ; and those stern but fan-
tastic legends of the prowess of antient Rome,
which the genius of Livy has dignified into
history. A chain hung pendent from the vault
of the tower, and confined the captive ; but so
as to leave his limbs at sufficient liberty to


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