Robert Browning.

The complete poetic and dramatic works of Robert Browning online

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Li letting people sleep upon their woes,
H not possessed with talent to relieve them
When once awake ; — but then 1 had," they *I1

'' Doubtless some unknown compensating pride
Li what I did ; and as I seem content
With ruining myself, why, so should they be."
And so Uiey are, and so be with his nrize
The devil, when he gets them speeduv I
Whv does not your Luitolfo come ? I long
To don this cloak and take the Lugo path.
It seems you never loved me, then?

^w. Chiappinot

Ch, Never?

Eu, Never.

Ch. That's sad. Say what I miffht.

There was no help from being sure this while
Yon loved me. Love like mine must have

I thought : no river starts but to some sea.
And had ^rou loved me, I could soon devise
Some specious reason why you stifled love.
Some nmded self-denial on your part.
Which made yon choose Luitolfo ; so, except-
From the wide condemnation of all here.
One woman. Well, the other dream may

If I knew anv heart, as mine loved you.
Loved me, though in the vilest breast 'twere

I should, 1 thinkj be forced to love again :
Else there 's no neht nor reason in the world. ^

Eu. ''If you knew," say you, — but I did
not know.
That's where you're blind, Chiappino!— a

Which if I may remove, I '11 not repent
The listening to. Ton cannot^ will not, see
How, place you but in eveiy circumstance
Of us, you are just now indignant at,
Ton 'd be as we.

Ch. I should be? . . . that; agunl

L to my friend, mv countoy and my love.
Be as Luitolfo ana these Faentines ?

Eu. As we.

Ch. Now, I 'U say something to remember.
I trust in nature for the stable laws
Of beauty and utility. — Spring shall plant.
And Autumn gamer to the end of time :
I trust in €k>d — the right shall be the right
And other than the wrong, while he endures :
I trust in my own soul, that can perceive
The outward and the inward, nature's good
And God's : so, seeing these men and myself,
Having a right to speak, thus do I speak.
I'll not curse — God beam with them, weU
may I —

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Bat I — protest against their claiming me.
I simplv say, if tiuit 's allowable,
I womd not (broadly) do as they have done.
— Qod cnrse this townfol of bom slayes, bred

Branded into the blood and bone, slayesi

Whoever loves, above his liberty.
House, land or life ! and . . .

\_A knoddng wUhout,
— bless my heio-fiiend,
Lnitolf o I
Eu, How he knocks!

Ch, The peril, kdy I

** Chiappino, I have run a risk — a nsk !
For when I prayed the Provost (he 's my friend)
To gnrant vou a week^s respite of the sentence
That confiscates your gooos, exiles yourself.
He shrugged his shoulder — I say, shrugged it !

And fright of that drove all elw from my head.
Here 's a good purse of scudi : off with you.
Lest of that shrug come what Qod only knows !
The 9cudi — friei^, they *re trash — no thanks,

Take the north gate, —for San Vitale's suburb.
Whose double taxes you appealed against.
In discomposure at your ill-sncoess
Is apt to stone yon : there, there — only go I
Beside, Eulalia here looks sleepily.
Shake . . . oh, vou hurt me, so you squeeze

my wrist!"
— Is it not thus you'll speak, adventurous

IA9 he opens (he door^ LmroLvo ruehee in^ hi* gar-
merUe ditordered.
Eu, Luitolfol Blood?
Luitolfo, There 's more — and more of it I
Eulalia — take the garment ! No — you, friend I
Yon take it and the blood from me — you dare !
Eu, Oh, who has hurt you? where 's the

Ch. "Who," say you?

^e man with many a touch of virtue yet !
The Provost^s friend has proved too frank of

And this comes of it. Miserable hound !
This comes of temporizing, as I said I
Here 's fruit of your smooth speeches and soft

Now see my way ! As (Sod lives, I go straight
To the palace and do justice, once for all 1
Lait, What says he?
Ch, I '11 do justice on him.

Lait, Him?

Ch, The Provost.
Lmt, I've just killed him.

Eu, Oh, my God!

LuU, "hij friend, they're on my trace;
they 11 have me — now !
They're round him, busy with him: soon

they '11 find
He's past their help, and then they'll be on

Chiappino, save Eulalia! I forget . . .
Were yon not bound f or . . .
Ch. Lugo?

Luit, Ah— yes— yes I

That was the mnnt Ijprayed of him to changeb
Well, go — be niq;>py I Is Eulalia safe ?
Thev 're on me !

Ch. T is through me they reach you, then !
Friend, seem the man yon are ! Lock arms —

Now tell me what you 've done ; explain how

That still professed forbearance, still preached

Could bring yourself . . .

Luit, What was peace for, Chiappino ?

I tried peace: did that promise, when peace

Strife shoidd not follow? All my peaceful

Were just the prelude to a day like this.
I cried " You call me * friend ' : -save my tme

Save him, or lose me ! "

Ch, But you never said

You meant to tell the Provost thus and thus.
Luit. Why should I say it? What else did

I mean?
Ch, WeU? He persisted?
Luit, — " Would so order it

You should not trouble him too soon again."
I saw a meaning in his eye and lip ;
I poured my heart's store of indignant words
Out on him : then — I know not! He retorted^
And I . . . some staff lay there to hand — I

He bade his servants thrust me out — I

struck . . .
Ah, they come ! Fly yon, save yourselves, you

The dead back-weight of the beheading axe I
The glowing trip-hook, thumbscrews and the
Eu, They do come ! Torches in the Place I
Chiappino I Yon can work no good to us —
Mucn to yourself ; believe not, all the world
Must needs be cuned henceforth !
Ch, And you?

Eu. I stay.

Ch, Ha. ha! Now, listen! I am master
This was my coarse disguise ; this paper shows
My path of flight and place of refuge — see —
Lugo, Areenta, past San Nicolo,
Ferrara, then to Venice and all 's safe I
Put on the doak ! His people have to fetch
A compass round about. There 's time enough
Ere they can reach us, so you straightway make
For Lugo . . . nay, he hears not! On with

it —
The cloak, Luitolfo, do 3rou hear me ? See —
He obeys he knows not how. Then, if I must —
Answer me ! Do you know the Lugo gate ?
Eu, The northwest gate, over the bridge ?
Luit, I know.

Ch. Well, there — you are not frightened?
all my route
Is traced in that : at Venice you escape
Their power. Eulalia, I am master here !
UShoutt/rom without. He pushes out Lnroupo, wh»
complies meeha n ieaUy.

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In time I Nay, help me with him— to! He's
Etu What hare yoa done ? On yon, per-
chance, all know
The ProToet's hater, '«nll men's yent^eance iaJl
As onr aooomplioe.

Ch, Mere accomplice ? See I

[PttMny on LunoLVo's veH,
Now, lady, am I tme to my profession.
Or one of these ?
Hu. Yon take Lnitolf o's place ?

Ch, Die for him.
Eu. Well done!

IShouU JnereoM.
Ch, How the people tarry !

I can't he silent ;^ I most speak : or sin^ —
How natond to sing now I

Eu, Hnsh and pray I

We are to die ; bat eren I perceive
'T is not a very hard thing so to die.
My cousin of the pale-hlne tearful eves.
Poor Cesca, suffers more from one day's life
With the stem husband ; "nsbe's heart goes

Each cTcning after that wild son of hers.
To track his thoughtless footstep through the

streets :
How easy for them both to die like this I
I am not sure that I could live as they.
Ch, Here they come, crowds! they pass
thepite? YesI — No! —
Ooe torch is in the courtyard. Here flock all.
Eu. At least Luitolf o has esd^ped. What

Ch, If they would drag one to the market-
One might speak there !

Eu. List,lirtl

Ch. They mount the steps.

(Bnier the Populaoe.)

Ch. I killed the PtoToet I

7%0 Populace. [Speaking toffether.] 'Twas
Chiappino, fnends I
Onr sayior I The best man at last as first I
He who first made us feel what chains we wore.
He also strikes ihd Uow that shatters them.
He at last sayes us — our best dtixen I
— Oh, haye yon only courage to speak now ?
My eldest son was christened 4 year since
** Cino " to keep Ghiappino^s name in mhid —
Cino, for shortness merely, you observe I
The city 's in our hands. The guards are fled.
Bo you, the cause of all, come down — come

Come out to counsel us, our chief, our king,
Whate'er rewards yon! Choose your own re-
ward I
The peril oyer, its reward begins !
Come and haningue us in the market-place I

Eu. Chiappino ?

Ch. Yee — I understand your eyes I

Yon think I should haye promptlier disowned
This deed with its strange unforeseen success,
In fayor of Luitolfo. But the peril.
So far from ended, hardly seems begun.
To-morrow, rather, when a calm succeeds.
We easily shall make him full amends :
And meantime — if we saye them as they pray,


And justify the deed by its effects?

Eu. Yon would, for worlds, yon had demed
at once.

Ch, I know my own intention, be aasured 1
All 's well. Precede us, f ellow-dtiiena !


The Marhet-plaee. JjonoLroindUgwUemimaUnffwUh
the Popnlaoe attetnbted oppotite the Prorost^s Palaee,

let Bystander. [To Lurr.J Yon, a friend o£
Lnitolfo's ? Then, your fnend ia yanished. —
in all probability killed on the mg^t that nis
patron the tyrannical Proyost was h^faUy sup-
pressed here, exactly a month ago, by our iUas-
trions fellow-citizen, thrice-noble sayior, md
new Proyost that is Hke to be, this yery mom-
,—- Chiappino!
iuit. He the new Proyost ?

2d By. Up those steps will he go, and beneath
yonder inllar stand, while Oenibeiif the Pope'a
Legate from Rayenna, reads the new dwini-
tary's title to the people^ according to established
custom : for which reason, there is the assem-
blage yon inciuire about.

jjuit. Chii4>pino — the late Proyost's suc-
cessor? ImiMssiblel But tell me of that
presently. What I would know first of all is,,
wherefore Luitolfo must so necessarily have
been killed on that memorable night ?

3d By. You were Luitolf o's fnend ? So was
I. Never, if you will credit me, did there exist
so poo^«pirited a milk-sop. He, with all the
opportumties in the world, furnished by daily
oonyene with our oppressor, would not stir a
finger to help us: and, when Chiappino rose
in solitary majesty and . . . how does one ^
on saying ? . . . dealt the godlike blow, — this
Luitolfo, not unreasonably fearing the indigna-
tion of an aroused and liberated people, fled
precipitately. He may have got trodden to
death in the press at the southeast gate, when
the Proyost's guards fled through it to Rayenna,
with their wounded master, — if he did not
rather hang himself under some hedge.

Luit. Ch why not simply have lain perdue
in some quiet comer, — suen as San Caasiano,
where his estate was, — receiving daily intelli-
gence from some sure friend, meanwhile, as to-
Ibe turn matters were taking here — how, for
instance, the Provost was not dead, after all.
only wounded — or, as to-day's news would
seem to prove, how Chiappino was not Brutus
the Elder, after all, only the new Provost — and
thus Luitolfo be enabled to watch a favorable
opportunity for returning ? Might it not have
been so?

Sd By. Wh^, he may have taken that care of
himself, certainly, for he came of a^ cautions
stock. I '11 tell yon how his unde, just such
another gingerly treader on tiptoes with finger
on lip, — now he met his death in the great
plague-year: dico vobisl Hearing that the<
seventeenth house in a certain street was inr
fected, he calculates to pass it in safety hv
taking plentiful breath, say, when he shall
arrive at the eleventh house ; then scorning by«

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boldiDg-^ that breath, till he be got so far on the
other side as number twenty-three, and thus
elude the danger. — And so cud he begin ; but,
as he arriyed at thirteen, we will say, — thinking
to improre on his precaution by putting up a
little prayer to Saint Nepomncene of ratgue,
this exhausted so much of his lungs' reserve,
that at sixteen it was clean spent, — conse-
quently at the fatal seventeen he inhaled wi^
a vigor and persistence enough to suck you any
latent venom out of the heart of a stone — Ha,

Luit, [Aside.] (If I had not lent that man
the money he wanted last spring, I should fear
this bitterness was attributable to me.) Lui-
tolfo is dead then, one nu&v conclude ?

3d By, Why. he had a house here, and a wo-
man to whom ne was affianced; and as they
both pass naturally to the new Provost, his
friend and heir . . .

Luit. Ah, I suspected yon of imposing on
me with your pleasantry I I know Chiappino

lit By. (Our friend has the bile I After all, I
do not dislike finding somebody vary a little
this general gApe of admiration at Chiappino*s
fflorious qualities.) Pray, how much may you
know of what has taken place in Faenza since
that memorable night ?

Luit. It is most to the purposCj that I know
Chiappino to have been by profession a hater of
that very office of Provost, yon now charge him
with TOoposing to accept.

IstBy. Sir, I '11 tell you. That nii^t was in-
deed memorable. Up we rose, a mass of us,
men, women, children ; out fled the guards with
the bodvof the tyrant; we were to defy the
world: but, next gray morning, **What will
Kome say ? " began everybody. You know we
are governed bv Ravenna, which is governed
by Rome. And quietly into the town, by the
Ravenna road, comes on mnleback a portly
persona^, Ogniben by name, with the quality
of Pontifical Legate ; trots briskly through the
streets humming a " Cur fremuere aentes^^ and
makes directly for the Provost's Palace — there
it faces you. *^One Messer Chiappino is
Tonr leader ? I have known three-and-twenty
leaders of revolts!" (laughing gently to him-
self) — *^Give me the help of your arm from
my mule to yonder steps under the pillar — So I
And now, my revolters and good friends, what
do you want ? The guards burst into Ravenna
last night bearing your wounded Provost : and,
having had a little talk with him, I take on
myseu to come and try aiipease the disorder-
liness, before Rome, hearing of it, resort to
another method : 't is I come, and not another,
from a certain love I confess to, of composing
differences. So, do you understand, you are
about to experience this nnheard-of tyranny
from me, that there shall be no heading nor
hanging, nor confiscation nor exile : I insist
on your simply pleasing yourselves. And now,
pray, what does please you ? To live without
any government at all? Or having decided
for one, to see its minister murdered by the
first of your body that chooses to find himself

wronged, or disposed for reverting to first
principles and a justice anterior to all institu-
tions, — and so will you carry matters, that the
rest of the world must »t length unite and put
down such a den of wild beasts ? As for ven-
geance on what has just taken place, — once
for all, the wounded man assures me he cannot
conjecture who struck him ; and this so ear-
nestly, that one maybe sure he knows perfectly
well what intimate acquaintance could find
admission to speak with nim late last evening.
I come not for vengeance therefore, but from
pure curiosity to hear what^ you will do next."
And thus he ran on, on, easily and volubly, till
he seemed to arrive quite naturally at the
praise of law, order, and paternal government
Dj somebody from rather a distance. All our
citizens were in the snare, and about to be
friends with so congenial an adviser; but that
Chiappino suddenly stood forth, spoke out in*
dignantly, and set UiingB right ajgam.

Luit, Do you see ? 1 recognize him there I

Sd By. Ay, but, mark ^on, at the end of
Chiappino's longest period m praise of a pure
repuDiio, — "" And by whom do I deeiro such a
government should be administered, pei'haps,
but by one like vourself ? '* returns the Xieeate :
thereupon speaking for a quarter of an nonr
together, on the natural and only legitimate
government by the best and wisest. And it
should seem thero was soon discovered to be no
such vast discrepancy at bottom between this
and Chiappino's theory, place but each in its
proper light. **0h, are you there?" quoth
Chiappino : *^Ay, in that, I agree," returns
Chiapj>ino: and so on.

Lutt. But did Chiapinno cede at once to

Itt Bv, Why, not altogether at once. For in-
stance, he said that the oifference between him
and all his fellows was, that they seemed all
wishing to be kin^ in one or another way, —
'* whereas what right," asked he, ^^has any
man to wish to ^ be superior to another ? " —
whereat, *^ Ah, sir," answers the Legate, ** this
is the death of me, so often as I expect some-
thing is really going to be rovealed to us by von
dearor - seers, deeper - thinkers — this — that
vour right-hand tto speak by a figxire) should
be found taking up the weapon it displaj^ed so
ostentatiously, not to destroy any dragon in our
path, as was prophesied, but simplv to cut off
its own fellow left-hand : yourself set about
attacking yourself. For see now! Here are
vou who, I make sure, glory exceedingly in
knowing the noble nature of the soul, its divine
impulses, and so forth ; and with such a know-
ledge you stand, as it were, armed to encounter
the natural doubts and fears as to that same
inherent nobility, which are ant to waylay us,
the weaker ones, m the road of life. And when
we look eagerly to see them fall before you, lo,
round you wheel, only the left-hand gpats the
blow ; one proof of the soul's nobility destroys
simply another proof, quite as good, of the
same, for yon are foundf delivering an opinion
like this I Why, what is this periMtual yearn*
ing to exceed, to subdue, to be oetter than, and

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a kiii|r orer, one's fellowB, — all that yoa so
disclainii — bat the veiy tendency Tooiself are
most proud of, and under another torm, would
oppose to it, —only m a lower stage of manifes-
taoon ? You don't want to be vulgarly supe-
rior to your fellows after their poor fashion —
to have me hold solemnly up your gown's tail,
or hand you an express of the last importanoe
from the Pope, with all these bystanders no-
tioing how unconoemed yon look the while:
but neither does our giH>inpr friend, the burgess
yonder, want the other kmd of kingship, uiat
consists in understanding better than his fellows
this and similar points of human nature, nor to
roll under his tongue this sweeter morsel still,

— the feeling that, through immense philoso-
phy, he does not feel, he rather thinks, abore
yoa and^ me I '* And so chatting, they glided
off arm-in-arm*

Luit, And the result 18 . . .

1st By, Why thai, a month haTing gone b^.
the indomitable Chii4>Dino, marrying as he will
Loitolfo's love — at ul events suooeedin^ to
Luitolfo's wealth — becomes the first inhabitant
of Faenza, and a proper aspirant to the Provost-
shin; which we assemble nere to see conferred
on him this morning. The Legate's Guard to
clear the way I He will follow presently.

Lait. [ WiMrawing a little,] I understand
the drift ai Eulalia's communications less than
ever. Yet she surely said, in so many words,
that Ghiappino was m urgent danger: where-
fore, disregarding her injunction to continue in
my retreat and await the result of — what she
called, some experiment yet in proceas— I has-
tened here witnout her leave or knowledge:
how could I else f But if this they say be true

— if it were for such a purpose, she and Chiap-
jnno kept me away . . . Oh, no, no I I must
confront him and her before I believe this of
them. And at the word, see I

{Enter OaiAmso and Sulaua.)

J^. We part here, then? The change in
your principles would seem to be complete.

Ch. Now, why refuse to see that in my pres-
ent course I change no principles, only re-adi^it
them and more adroitly ? 1 had despaired of
what you may call the material instrumentality
of life ; of ever being able to rightly operate on
mankind through such a deranged machinery
as the existing modes of government: but now,
if I suddenly discover how to inform these i>er-
verted institutions with fresh purpose, bring
the functionary limbs once more into immediate
commumcadon with, and subjection to, the soul
I am about to bestow on them — do you see ?
Why should one desire to invent, as long as
it remains possible to renew and transform?
When all further hope of the old or^ranization
shall be extinct, then, I grant you, it may be
time to try and create another.

Eu. And there being discoverable some hope
yet in the hitherto much-abused old system of
absolute government by a Provost here, you
mean to take jour time about endeavoring to
realize those visions of a perfect State we once
heard of?

C%. Say, I would fain realize my conception

of a palace, for instance, and that there is, ab-
stractedly, but a single way of erecting one per-
fectly. Here, in the market-place is my allotted
building-ground ; here 1 stand without a stona
to lay, or a laborer to help me, — stand, too,
during a short day of life, dose on which the
nifi^t comes. On the other hand, droumstancea
suddenly offer me (turn and see it I) the old
Provost s house to experiment upon — ruinous,
if you please, wrongly constructed at the begin-
ning, and ready to tumble now. But mat^wials
abound, a crowd of workmen offer their ser-
vices; here exists jet a Hall of Audience of
originally noble proportions, there a Onest-
chamber of symmetrical design enough : and I
may restore, enlarge, abohsh or unite these to
heart's content. Ought I not m^Le Uie beet
of such an opportuni^. rather than continue to
gaze disconsolately with folded arms on the flat
pavement here, while the sun goes slowly down,
never to rise again ? Since yon cannot under-
stand this nor me, it is better we should part
as you desire.

£u. So, the love l»eaks away too I

Ch, No, rather my soul's capacity for lov»
widens — needs more than one oDJect to content
it, —^ and, being better instructed, will not per-
sist in seeing all the component parts of love in
what is only a single part, — nor in finding that
so many and so various loves are all united in
the love of a woman, — manifold uses in one
instrument, as the savage has his swor<L staff,
sceptre and idoL all in one dub-stick. Love ia
a very compouna thing. The intellectual part
of my love I shall pre to men, the mi^ty dead
or the illustrious hving ; and determine to call
a mere sensual instinct by as few fine names aa
possible. What do I lose?

Eu. Nay, I only think, what do I lose? and,
one more word — which shall complete my in-
struction — does friendship go too ? What of
Luitolfo. the author of your present prosperity ?'

C/L How the author?

Eu. That blow now called yours . . •

Ch. Struck without prindple or purpose, aa
by a blind natural operation : yet to which all
my thought and life directly and advisedly
tended. I would have struck it, and could not :
he would have done his utmost to avoid strikins^
it, yet did so. I dispute his ri^ht to that deed
of mine — a final action with him, from the first
effect of which he fied away, — a mere first step
with me, on which I base a whole mighty super-
stmoture of good to follow. Could he get good
from it?

Eu, So we profesB, so we perform I

( Enter Oohibbv. Evlalia atands apart.)

Ogniben, 1 have seen three-and-twenty lead-
ers of revdts. By your leave, sir I Perform ?
What does the laay say of pertorming ?

Ch, Only the tnte saying, that we must not
trust profession, only performance.

Ogni, She *U not say that, sir, when sh»
knqws you longer ; yon '11 instruct her better.
Ever judge of men by their professions ! For
thongn the bright moment of promising is but
a moment and cannot be prolonged, yet, if sin-
cere in its moment's extravagant goodness, why.

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trust it and knov the man bv it, I say — not by
his performance ; which is half the world's work,
interfere as the worid needs most, with its acci-
dents and cironmstances: the profession was
purely the man's own. I judge people by what
thev miriit be, — not are, nor will be.

CA. But haye there not been found, too, per-
f ormii^ natures, not merely nromising ?

Ognt, Plenty. Little Binao of our town, for
instance, promised his friend, great ugly Masao-
oio, once, ** I will repay you ! "—for a favor
done him. So, when his fath^ came to die,

Online LibraryRobert BrowningThe complete poetic and dramatic works of Robert Browning → online text (page 59 of 198)