He is Mantuan by birth.
The Duchess of Padua
Duke [advancing towards Guido]
You have the eyes of one I used to know,
But he died childless. Are you honest, boy?
Then be not spendthrift of your honesty,
But keep it to yourself; in Padua
Men think that honesty is ostentatious, so
It is not of the fashion. Look at these lords.
Count Bardi [aside]
Here is some bitter arrow for us, sure.
Why, every man among them has his price,
Although, to do them justice, some of them
Are quite expensive.
Count Bardi [aside]
There it comes indeed.
So be not honest; eccentricity
Is not a thing should ever be encouraged,
Although, in this dull stupid age of ours,
The most eccentric thing a man can do
Is to have brains, then the mob mocks at him;
And for the mob, despise it as I do,
I hold its bubble praise and windy favours
In such account, that popularity
Is the one insult I have never suffered.
He has enough of hate, if he needs that.
Have prudence; in your dealings with the world
Be not too hasty; act on the second thought,
First impulses are generally good.
Surely a toad sits on his lips, and spills its venom there.
See thou hast enemies,
Else will the world think very little of thee;
It is its test of power; yet see thou show’st
A smiling mask of friendship to all men,
Until thou hast them safely in thy grip,
Then thou canst crush them.
O wise philosopher!
That for thyself dost dig so deep a grave.
Moranzone [to him]
Dost thou mark his words?
Oh, be thou sure I do.
And be not over-scrupulous; clean hands
With nothing in them make a sorry show.
If you would have the lion’s share of life
You must wear the fox’s skin. Oh, it will fit you;
It is a coat which fitteth every man.
Your Grace, I shall remember.
That is well, boy, well.
I would not have about me shallow fools,
Who with mean scruples weigh the gold of life,
And faltering, paltering, end by failure; failure,
The only crime which I have not committed:
I would have men about me. As for conscience,
Conscience is but the name which cowardice
Fleeing from battle scrawls upon its shield.
You understand me, boy?
I do, your Grace,