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The Duchess of Padua


Oh! who is that?

A Citizen

The Duchess of Padua!

END OF ACT I

ACT II

SCENE

A state room in the Ducal Palace, hung with tapestries representing the Masque of Venus; a large door in the centre opens into a corridor of red marble, through which one can see a view of Padua; a large canopy is set (R.C.) with three thrones, one a little lower than the others; the ceiling is made of long gilded beams; furniture of the period, chairs covered with gilt leather, and buffets set with gold and silver plate, and chests painted with mythological scenes. A number of the courtiers is out on the corridor looking from it down into the street below; from the street comes the roar of a mob and cries of ‘Death to the Duke’: after a little interval enter the Duke very calmly; he is leaning on the arm of Guido Ferranti; with him enters also the Lord Cardinal; the mob still shouting.

Duke

No, my Lord Cardinal, I weary of her!
Why, she is worse than ugly, she is good.

Maffio [excitedly]

Your Grace, there are two thousand people there
Who every moment grow more clamorous.

Duke

Tut, man, they waste their strength upon their lungs!
People who shout so loud, my lords, do nothing;
The only men I fear are silent men.

[A yell from the people.]

You see, Lord Cardinal, how my people love me.

[Another yell.]

Go, Petrucci,
And tell the captain of the guard below
To clear the square.  Do you not hear me, sir?
Do what I bid you.

[Exit Petrucci.]

Cardinal

I beseech your Grace
To listen to their grievances.

Duke [sitting on his throne]

Ay! the peaches
Are not so big this year as they were last.
I crave your pardon, my lord Cardinal,
I thought you spake of peaches.

[A cheer from the people.]

What is that?

Guido [rushes to the window]

The Duchess has gone forth into the square,
And stands between the people and the guard,
And will not let them shoot.

Duke

The devil take her!

Guido [still at the window]

And followed by a dozen of the citizens
Has come into the Palace.

Duke [starting up]

By Saint James,
Our Duchess waxes bold!

Bardi

Here comes the Duchess.

Duke

Shut that door there; this morning air is cold.

[They close the door on the corridor.]

[Enter the Duchess followed by a crowd of meanly dressed Citizens.]

Duchess [flinging herself upon her knees]

I do beseech your Grace to give us audience.

Duke

What are these grievances?