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The Duchess of Padua


None, Ascanio, none.

Ascanio [laughing]

Then he could never have boxed your ears so often as my father did mine.

Guido [smiling]

I am sure you never deserved it.

Ascanio

Never; and that made it worse. I hadn’t the consciousness of guilt to buoy me up. What hour did you say he fixed?

Guido

Noon.

[Clock in the Cathedral strikes.]

Ascanio

It is that now, and your man has not come. I don’t believe in him, Guido. I think it is some wench who has set her eye at you; and, as I have followed you from Perugia to Padua, I swear you shall follow me to the nearest tavern. [Rises.] By the great gods of eating, Guido, I am as hungry as a widow is for a husband, as tired as a young maid is of good advice, and as dry as a monk’s sermon. Come, Guido, you stand there looking at nothing, like the fool who tried to look into his own mind; your man will not come.

Guido

Well, I suppose you are right. Ah! [Just as he is leaving the stage with Ascanio, enter Lord Moranzone in a violet cloak, with a silver falcon broidered on the shoulder; he passes across to the Cathedral, and just as he is going in Guido runs up and touches him.]

Moranzone

Guido Ferranti, thou hast come in time.

Guido

What! Does my father live?

Moranzone

Ay! lives in thee.
Thou art the same in mould and lineament,
Carriage and form, and outward semblances;
I trust thou art in noble mind the same.

Guido

Oh, tell me of my father; I have lived
But for this moment.

Moranzone

We must be alone.

Guido

This is my dearest friend, who out of love
Has followed me to Padua; as two brothers,
There is no secret which we do not share.

Moranzone

There is one secret which ye shall not share;
Bid him go hence.

Guido [to Ascanio]

Come back within the hour.
He does not know that nothing in this world
Can dim the perfect mirror of our love.
Within the hour come.

Ascanio

Speak not to him,
There is a dreadful terror in his look.

Guido [laughing]

Nay, nay, I doubt not that he has come to tell
That I am some great Lord of Italy,
And we will have long days of joy together.
Within the hour, dear Ascanio.

[Exit Ascanio.]

Now tell me of my father?  [Sits down on a stone seat.]
Stood he tall?
I warrant he looked tall upon his horse.
His hair was black? or perhaps a reddish gold,
Like a red fire of gold?  Was his voice low?
The very bravest men have voices sometimes
Full of low music; or a clarion was it
That brake with terror all his enemies?
Did he ride singly? or with many squires
And valiant gentlemen to serve his state?
For oftentimes methinks I feel my veins
Beat with the blood of kings.  Was he a king?

Moranzone