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!