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beneath, and end at once his troubles and his existence !-but religion, not patience, as frequently restrained him.
Finding his health declining hourly, Foscari determined to write to the Duke of Milan, who had formerly received great friendship from the Marquis di Foscari, his father. An opportunity soon offered itself.-A merchant who visited the prison, and who was returning to Milan, undertook to be the medium of communication between Dominica, and the Duke. He accordingly wrote the following letter, which he gave to the merchant, who promised inviolable secresy.
TO HIS MOST ILLUSTRIOUS GRACE THE DUKE OF MILAN. Signor Duke.—The person who brings you this can inform you, Signor (for he can inform you with composure) of the horrible situation in which he leaves the afflicted son of your friend, the Marquis di Foscari ;—you must have heard my unfortunate story. Confined to a miserable dungeon, I feel that my time in this world will be but short. My only deviation from the laws of my country has been, that of addressing myself to you; I know that all application to foreign powers is forbidden-but the style in which I have ever heard the Doge, my father, speak of your Grace, has induced me to hope, that you will not suffer his miserable son to expire in a prison, for a crime of which he is strictly innocent, without at least some interference in his behalf. The conscious innocence of my soul bids me look forward to a bright futurity. I fear not death—all I ask is to return to that country which gave me birth, and close my eyes in the presence of a beloved family, who are rendered equally unhappy by the false accusations of my inveterate enemies. The same innocence which secures to me a heavenly hereafter, has induced me to solicit this favor from your Grace-it is my only wish to return to Venice, and there end my sufferings. My rancorous enemies may triumph here, but their punishment will be in a world to come. The justice of heaven will not suffer crimes like theirs to go unrewarded.
With profound obedience, I remain, Signor Duke, your grace's most devoted humble servant,
DOMINICA DI FOSCARI. From the State Prison at Candia.
The treacherous merchant had no sooner the letter in his possession, than he determined to apply it to his own interest. Instead, therefore, of returning to Milan, where his business required his presence, he took his passage in the first ship for Venice. On his arrival, having torn off a corner of the letter, he enclosed the rest and thrust it into the Bocca di Lione. It was handed to the inquisitors, and the barbarous wretch having produced the remainder, and received a considerable sum for his information, was permitted to depart for Milan.
Foscari was now recalled, and doubted not but the duke had wrought this turn in his favour.—How did he long to throw himself at his feet, and acknowledge his gratitude to his deliverer! Already he anticipated the painful pleasure of clasping his Francesca to his heart;-he was well aware those pleasures would be but transient, as he was too far advanced in a decline to expect that even his native air would effect a recovery of his health. He suffered severely during his voyage, and so much was he altered, that his persecutors scarce knew him when he presented himself fore them. He was too soon convinced of his mistake, in attributing his return to the Duke of Milan. His own letter was produced, and he was questioned as to the reasons of his application to a foreigner-he alleged his wish to be recalled as his only one.
The council informed him, that if he would confess his offence they would extend their lenity towards him, by banishing him without imprisonment, in consideration of his family. He again assured them he never committed the crime for which he had already so unjustly suffered—then falling on his knees, he implored them to permit him once more to behold his family, and he would bow with resignation to their future decrees.—The violence he did himself at this trying period overcame him so far that he fainted.-By some of the council he was thought dying, and their inflexible hearts began to relent; his suit was granted, and he was conveyed to an apartment in the Ducal Palace, but not before he was informed, that as he would not confess, he must suffer imprisonment in Candia two years longer, and if in that time nothing further appeared against him, he would be at liberty. This was a fresh stroke to him ; he could have born imprisonment in Venice, but he was well convinced, if he quitted it again he should return no more.
At length, he once more beheld his sister Julia; she advanced without his perceiving her, but if she was shocked at the alteration in her beloved brother, he was infinitely more so, on raising his eyes, to see his once beautiful and animated sister, pale, languid and almost a shadow! An involuntary exclamation escaped him. Their meeting was nearly as mournful as their parting; he inquired tenderly after his father ; Julia, answered with tears that, she would go and prepare him for the interview ; as she left the room, the Count Buonarotti entered, and another interesting scene took place. Emanuel would willingly have concealed the real situation of Francesca, but Foscari urged him, so forcibly, to discover the truth, that at length he, with an aching heart, complied.
From that moment every thing appeared indifferent to him !—He beheld the piercing affliction of his father without a tear !-Indeed so unmoved was he, that the Count and Julia both feared his intellects had suffered from the knowledge of Francesca's situation. Emanuel asked him if he thought he could support the sight of her with fortitude. • Oh ! cried he, in an agony, • let me but see her, and I will not breathe, if you desire that I should not.' Emanuel withdrew, and soon afterwards returned with Francesca.--Foscari's emotions at her entering the apartment were too violent to be suppressed, and, in spite of his resolution, he exclaimed in an agony, Christo benedetto ! and hid his face in his cloak.-Julia took her hand, and leading her to him, pulled aside his cloak. He softly asked, Francesca, do you know me ?' She replied, with a vacant laugh, in the negative. Then looking at him again, she went to the count, and whispering, begged him to take her away, ‘for that,' pointing to Foscari, was one of the cruel men who murdered Signor Dominica.' My dear Francesca,' said he, ''tis Foscari himself.'—No, no,' said she, I know he is dead, and I have buried him here,' pointing to her heart ;-then with the most restless impatience she kept plucking the Count's robe to begone.-Foscari advanced towards her, but she screamed so violently, that her brother was obliged to take her away as fast as possible. This last step convinced him more than ever that she was past recovery. Buonarotti returned in a short time and was again a sorrowful witness of the departure of his friend; an eminent physician attended him, with every thing necessary for his disorder, and his friends vainly flattered themselves they should behold his recovery and release. Alas! he was too far gone, and the last shock, with the subsequent voyage, proved fatal to this favourite of affliction.
Natale Donato was absent at the time Foscari reached Venice, and only
returned on the very evening of the day he quitted it. Count Emanuel informed him of the circumstances which occasioned their friend's appearance there, Natale, with his natural goodness of heart, scarcely waited the conclusion of the narrative. He set off immediately for Milan, and had a conference with the Duke on that very day. His grace was a man of great sensibility, and gratitude to the marquis made him use every endeavour to serve his ill-fated son. He was successful.—The council knowing his power, and perhaps weary of their horrid persecutions, assented, without further hesitation, to the release of Foscari.
Throughout the city the news was in an instant circulated, and there was not a heart in Venice, except that of his cruel accuser, that did not manifest sincere joy at his deliverance.
This may appear singular, as it has been before observed that the general voice pronounced him guilty; but when we recollect that the horror of the murder was forgotten the characters of the late and present Count Donato universally disliked—and the extreme sufferings of Foscari—we cannot wonder that their prejudices were overcome, and that pity succeeded to revenge. No sooner was the release procured, than despatches were instantly sent off to Candia, for his immediate return. His excess of joy had nearly proved fatal to the Doge, who was far advanced in years, and still further in sorrow.
Before he could possibly be expected home, Julia had sent every day to the harbour, to know if any news had arrived from Candia. At length a vessel hove in sight. The faithful Olivier (who was still in the marquis's service) was waiting with anxious 'expectation. He fancied he discerned his beloved master on the deck, and hailed the bark with the most heartfelt satisfaction. Fatal delusion! His master was indeed on board, but death had put a period to his sufferings, and his future happiness was sealed for ever.
The unfortunate martyr had scarcely spoken during his yoyage to Candia, and it was with the greatest difficulty he was persuaded to take the slightest nourishment. On his arrival he requested a confessor, and after being with him some time, called for his physician, and in the presence of both protested his innocence in the most solemn manner. He then declared that he was perfectly resigned to his fate, and that he had nothing more to wish for; he had bid adieu to all that was dear to him, and only asked forgiveness for his persecutors, as he forgave them. He afterwards sank into a slumber, which seemed materially to have refreshed him. The next day he was better, but on the third he was restless and uneasy.--The physician (who never for a moment quitted him) insisted on his keeping his bed-he could not swallow, and his pulse was in the most alarming state. Towards evening he was more composed, and again asked for his confessor-he came-but Foscari had that moment breathed his last, and his pure soul had winged its way to the realms of immortality.
Thus perished a most deserving but unfortunate youth, in a miserable prison! without one friend to sympathise with him in his parting moments! basely accused of another's crimes !-and heart-broken by his privation of all those ties which endear us to life and to society.
Olivier hastened with unaffected sorrow to prepare Julia for this trial of her fortitude ; in his way he met the Count, to whom he imparted his tale of woe. Emanuel felt what a real friend should feel on such an occasion. He had ever loved Foscari as a brother, and as a brother ne wept for him. He undertook to break the mournful tidings to the marquis and Julia ; it was a severe and painful task, but he was their friend; and who but a friend who felt the loss, could soften and prepare their hearts for such a trial? He effected it with more composure than he could have expected, but it sunk deep into the heart of the Doge, and from that hour his advance to the grave was precipitate.
Julia, who was now accustomed to scenes of sorrow, beheld this with a grief, which, though silent, strongly indicated her internal sufferings. With his dying breath he bequeathed his surviving child to the care of the excellent Count, who seldom quitted the bed-side of his Julia's father; the Doge expired, holding the hand of each, and breathing a prayer for their happiness.
In the mean time an affair happened in Venice which at once cleared the house of Foscari from the vile stain imputed to it. A nobleman, Signor Nicholas Erizzio was on his death-bed, his agonies were extreme, but they were infinitely inferior to those of his mind;-on being alone with his confessor, he acknowledged himself the murderer of Count Donato, for which the unhappy family of Foscari had so unjustly suffered. He had quarrelled with him at the gaming table, and revenge lurking in his malicious breast, he had hired three ruffians, who with himself had perpetrated the bloody deed; he had given to each a considerable sum never to return to Venice, and he believed they were faithful ;—he protested that he died without a hope of forgiveness. Thus departed the diabolical destroyer of a family once revered for every virtue which dignifies the human breast, a dreadful prey to the pangs of an accusing conscience.
After a time, the nuptials of the Count and Julia were solemnized, and the recollection of past troubles, though it frequently beguiled them of their tears, only served to endear them so much the more to each other. Francesca never perfectly recovered her senses, but she was placid and serene. The Count Donato fell a victim to his intemperance, and Natale succeeded him in his title and estate. Having got the better of his first attachment, he at length married a very amiable friend of his former mistress.
[Some of the incidents of this tale have been employed, as most of our readers are no doubt aware, by Lord Byron, in his admirable Tragedy of the Two Foscari.]
ON AN OLD ENGRAVING OF A NUN.
'Tis a most wonderous mockery of life!
THE VALE OF NEVE,
BY MRS. HENRY ROLLS.
The Village of Aldwincle, in the Vale of Neve, was the birth-place of Dryden. In a letter to a friend, Pope calls that part of Northamptonshire, the Land of the Violet and Nightingale.
Neve! through thy peaceful verdant vale,
The violet's sweetest perfume blows;
As though some secret spell were there !
Spring's genial call can both restore,
Alike to him life's joy and care !
Here light, and life, first met thine eye,
To grace the spot where first he sung !
Throughout the balmy breathing night,
Warbler ! thou canst not match his tongue !
What visions filled his opening mind!
Spirits, which graced his purest themes !
O Harmony !-that wonderous song
Perchance 'twas whispered in those dreams !
Thou shunn'st the gaudy glare of day;
Whilst thou unseen canst pour thy strain !
If shed on thee the sun's full glow;
The dew the shade-alike are vain !