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Scene from 'Tasso'

Composed, 1818. Published by Dr. Garnett, "Relics of Shelley", 1862.

Maddalo, a courtier.
Malpiglio, a poet.
Pigna, a minister.
Albano, an usher.
MADDALO:
No access to the Duke! You have not said
That the Count Maddalo would speak with him?
PIGNA:
Did you inform his Grace that Signor Pigna
Waits with state papers for his signature?
MALPIGLIO:
The Lady Leonora cannot know 
That I have written a sonnet to her fame,
In which I ... Venus and Adonis.
You should not take my gold and serve me not.
ALBANO:
In truth I told her, and she smiled and said,
'If I am Venus, thou, coy Poesy, 
Art the Adonis whom I love, and he
The Erymanthian boar that wounded him.'
O trust to me, Signor Malpiglio,
Those nods and smiles were favours worth the zechin.
MALPIGLIO:
The words are twisted in some double sense 
That I reach not: the smiles fell not on me.
PIGNA:
How are the Duke and Duchess occupied?
ALBANO:
Buried in some strange talk. The Duke was leaning,
His finger on his brow, his lips unclosed.
The Princess sate within the window-seat, 
And so her face was hid; but on her knee
Her hands were clasped, veined, and pale as snow,
And quivering—young Tasso, too, was there.
MADDALO:
Thou seest on whom from thine own worshipped heaven
Thou drawest down smiles—they did not rain on thee. 
MALPIGLIO:
Would they were parching lightnings for his sake
On whom they fell!

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