[SCENE II.]—The Rialto


Jaff. I am here, and thus, the shades of night around me,
I look as if all hell were in my heart,
And I in hell. Nay, surely ’tis so with me;—
For every step I tread, methinks some fiend
Knocks at my breast, and bids it not be quiet:
I’ve heard, how desperate wretches, like myself,
Have wandered out at this dead time of night
To meet the foe of mankind in his walk:
Sure I’m so curst, that, tho’ of Heaven forsaken,
No minister of darkness cares to tempt me.
Hell! hell! why sleepest thou?


Pierr. Sure I have stayed too long:
The clock has struck, and I may lose my proselyte.
Speak, who goes there?

Jaff. A dog, that comes to howl
At yonder moon: what’s he that asks the question?

Pierr. A friend to dogs, for they are honest creatures
And ne’er betray their masters; never fawn
On any that they love not: well met, friend:

Jaff. The same. O Pierre! thou art come in season,
I was just going to pray.

Pierr. Ah, that’s mechanic,
Priests make a trade on’t, and yet starve by it too:
No praying, it spoils business, and time’s precious;
Where’s Belvidera?

Jaff. For a day or two
I’ve lodged her privately, till I see further
What fortune will do with me? Prithee, friend,
If thou wouldst have me fit to hear good counsel,
Speak not of Belvidera—

Pierr. Speak not of her.

Jaff. Oh no!

Pierr. Nor name her. May be I wish her well.

Jaff. Who well?

Pierr. Thy wife, thy lovely Belvidera;
I hope a man may wish his friend’s wife well,
And no harm done!

Jaff. Y’ are merry, Pierre!

Pierr. I am so:
Thou shalt smile too, and Belvidera smile;
We’ll all rejoice; here’s something to buy pins,
Marriage is chargeable.

Jaff. I but half wished
To see the Devil, and he’s here already.
What must this buy, rebellion, murder, treason?
Tell me which way I must be damned for this.

Pierr. When last we parted, we had no qualms like those.
But entertained each other’s thoughts like men,
Whose souls were well acquainted. Is the world
Reformed since our last meeting? what new miracles
Have happened? has Priuli’s heart relented?
Can he be honest?

Jaff. Kind Heaven! let heavy curses
Gall his old age; cramps, aches, rack his bones,
And bitterest disquiet wring his heart;
Oh, let him live till life become his burden!
Let him groan under’t long, linger an age
In the worst agonies and pangs of death,
And find its ease, but late.

Pierr Nay, couldst thou not
As well, my friend, have stretched the curse to all
The Senate round, as to one single villain?

  By PanEris using Melati.

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