The Duchess of Padua

The Duchess of Padua

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The Duchess of Padua by Oscar Wilde

Published:

1883

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The Duchess of Padua

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Book Excerpt

ower; yet see thou show'st A smiling mask of friendship to all men, Until thou hast them safely in thy grip, Then thou canst crush them.

GUIDO

[aside] O wise philosopher! That for thyself dost dig so deep a grave.

MORANZONE

[to him] Dost thou mark his words?

GUIDO

Oh, be thou sure I do.

DUKE

And be not over-scrupulous; clean hands With nothing in them make a sorry show. If you would have the lion's share of life You must wear the fox's skin. Oh, it will fit you; It is a coat which fitteth every man.

GUIDO

Your Grace, I shall remember.

DUKE

That is well, boy, well. I would not have about me shallow fools, Who with mean scruples weigh the gold of life, And faltering, paltering, end by failure; failure, The only crime which I have not committed: I would have MEN about me. As for conscience, Conscience is but the name which cowardice Fleeing from battle scrawls upon its shield. You understand me, boy?

GUIDO

I do, your Grace, And will in all things carry out the creed Wh

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