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A Florentine Tragedy – A Fragment
by [?]

. My lord, of all the gracious courtesies
That you have showered on my barren house
This is the highest.

Bianca, fetch my sword.
Thrust back that stool and table. We must have
An open circle for our match at arms,
And good Bianca here shall hold the torch
Lest what is but a jest grow serious.

[To Guido]. Oh! kill him, kill him!

. Hold the torch, Bianca.
[They begin to fight.]

. Have at you! Ah! Ha! would you?

[He is wounded by GUIDO.]

A scratch, no more. The torch was in mine eyes.
Do not look sad, Bianca. It is nothing.
Your husband bleeds, ’tis nothing. Take a cloth,
Bind it about mine arm. Nay, not so tight.
More softly, my good wife. And be not sad,
I pray you be not sad. No; take it off.
What matter if I bleed? [Tears bandage off.]

Again! again!
[Simone disarms Guido]
My gentle Lord, you see that I was right
My sword is better tempered, finer steel,
But let us match our daggers.

[to Guido]
Kill him! kill him!

. Put out the torch, Bianca.

[Bianca puts out torch.]

Now, my good Lord,
Now to the death of one, or both of us,
Or all three it may be. [They fight.]

There and there.
Ah, devil! do I hold thee in my grip?
[Simone overpowers Guido and throws him down over table.]

. Fool! take your strangling fingers from my throat.
I am my father’s only son; the State
Has but one heir, and that false enemy France
Waits for the ending of my father’s line
To fall upon our city.

. Hush! your father
When he is childless will be happier.
As for the State, I think our state of Florence
Needs no adulterous pilot at its helm.
Your life would soil its lilies.

. Take off your hands
Take off your damned hands. Loose me, I say!

. Nay, you are caught in such a cunning vice
That nothing will avail you, and your life
Narrowed into a single point of shame
Ends with that shame and ends most shamefully.

. Oh! let me have a priest before I die!

. What wouldst thou have a priest for? Tell thy sins
To God, whom thou shalt see this very night
And then no more for ever. Tell thy sins
To Him who is most just, being pitiless,
Most pitiful being just. As for myself. . .

. Oh! help me, sweet Bianca! help me, Bianca,
Thou knowest I am innocent of harm.

. What, is there life yet in those lying lips?
Die like a dog with lolling tongue! Die! Die!
And the dumb river shall receive your corse
And wash it all unheeded to the sea.

. Lord Christ receive my wretched soul to-night!

. Amen to that. Now for the other.

[He dies. Simone rises and looks at Bianca. She comes towards him
as one dazed with wonder and with outstretched arms.]

. Why
Did you not tell me you were so strong?

. Why
Did you not tell me you were beautiful?

[He kisses her on the mouth.]