페이지 이미지

borne on the shields of his surviving soliders,
breathless and pale, and cover'd o'er with wounds.
Long, at the head of his few faithful friends,
he stood the shock of a whole host of foes,
till, obstinately brave, and bent on death,

opprest with multitudes, he greatly fell.


Por. Nor did he fall before

I'm satisfy'd.

his sword had pierc'd through the false heart of SyYonder he lies. I saw the hoary traitor

[phax. grin in the pangs of death, and bite the ground.

Cato. Thanks to the gods! my boy has done his duPortius, when I am dead, be sure thou place [ty.his urn near mine.

Por. Long may they keep asunder!

Luc. O Cato, arm thy soul with all its patience; see where the corpse of thy dead son approaches! the citizens and senators, alarm'd,

have gather'd round it, and attend it weeping.

CATO meeting the Corpse.-SENATORS attending. Cato. Welcome, my son! Here lay him down my full in my sight, that I may view at leisure [friends, the bloody corse, and count those glorious wounds. -How beautiful is death, when earn'd by virtue! who would not be that youth? what pity is it, that we can die but once, to serve our country! - Why sits this sadness on your brows, my friends? I should have blush'd, if Cato's house had stood secure, and flourish'd in a civil war.


Portius, behold thy brother, and remember,

thy life is not thy own, when Rome demands it, Jub. Was ever man like this!

[blocks in formation]


why mourn you thus? let not a private loss afflict your hearts. 'T is Rome requires our tears, the mistress of the world, the seat of empire, the nurse of heroes, the delight of gods, that humbled the proud tyrants of the earth, and set the nations free; Rome is no more. Oh, liberty! Oh, virtue! Oh, my country!

Jub. Behold that upright man! Rome fills his eyes with tears, that flow'd not o'er his own dead son. [Aside. Cato. Whate'er the Roman virtue has subdued, the sun's whole course, the day and year, are Cæsar's. For him the self-devoted Decii dy'd,

the Fabii fell, and the great Scipio's conquer'd: ev'n Pompey fought for Cæsar. Oh, my friends, how is the toil of fate, the work of ages,

the Roman empire, fall'n! Oh, curs'd ambition!
Fall'n into Cæsar's hands! Our great forefathers
had left him nought to conquer but his country.
Jub. While Cato lives, Cæsar will blush to see
mankind enslav'd and be asham❜d of empire.

Cato. Cæsar asham'd! Has not he seen Pharsalia?
Luc. 'T is time thou save thyself and us.

Cato. Lose not a thought on me; I'm out of danHeav'n will not leave me in the victor's hand. [ger: Cæsar shall never say, I've conquer'd Cato.. But oh, my friends! your safety fills my heart with anxious thoughts; a thousand secret terrors rise in my soul. How shall I save my friends? 'T is now, O Cæsar, I begin to fear thee!

Luc. Cæsar has mercy, if we ask it of him. Cato. Then ask it I conjure you; let him know, whate'er was done against him, Cato did it. Add, if you please, that I request it of him, that I myself, with tears, request it of him, No. 78.


the virtue of my friends may pass unpunish'd.
Juba, my heart is troubled for thy sake.
Should I advise thee to regain Numidia,
or seek the conqueror ?—

Jub. If I forsake thee

whilst I have life, may Heaven abandon Juba! Cato. Thy virtues, prince, if I foresee aright, will one day make thee great; at Rome hereafter, 't will be no crime to have been Cato's friend.

Portius, draw near: my son, thou oft hast seen thy sire engag'd in a corrupted state,

wrestling with vice and faction; now thou seest me spent, overpower'd, despairing of success; let me advise thee to retreat betimes to thy paternal seat, the Sabine field;

where the great Censor toil'd with his own hands, and all our frugal ancestors were bless'd

in humble virtues, and a rural life;

there live retir'd, pray for the peace of Rome; content thyself to be obscurely good.

When vice prevails, and impious men bear sway, the post of honour is a private station.

Por. I hope my father does not recommend a life to Portius, that he scorns himself.

Cato. Farewell, my friends! If there be any of you who dare not trust the victor's clemency, know there are ships prepar'd, by my command, (their sails already opening to the winds) that shall convey you to the wish'd-for port: Is there aught else, my friends, I can do for you? the conqueror draws near. Once more, farewell! if e'er we meet hereafter, we shall meet in happier climes, and on a safer shore, where Cæsar never shall approach us more.

There, the brave youth, with love of virtue fir'd,
[Pointing to the body of his dead Son.

who greatly in his country's cause expir'd,
shall know he conquer'd. The firm patriot there,
(who made the welfare of mankind his care)
tho' still by faction, vice, and fortune crost,
shall find the gen'rous labour was not lost.


A Chamber.


CATO solus, sitting in a thoughtful posture; in his hand, Plato's book on the immortality of the soul. A drawn sword on the table, by him.

Cato. It must be so, Plato thou reason'st well!— else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire, this langing after immortality?

or whence this secret dread, and inward horror,
of falling into nought? Why shrinks the soul
back on herself, and startles at destruction?
't is the divinity that stirs within us;

't is Heav'n itself that points out an hereafter,
and intimates eternity to man.

Eternity! thou pleasing, dreadful thought!
Through what variety of untry'd being,

through what new scenes and changes must we pass?
the wide, the unbounded, prospect lies before me;
but shadows, clouds, and darkness, rest upon it.
Here will I hold. If there's a Power above us,
(and that there is, all nature cries aloud
through all her works) he must delight in virtue;
and that, which he delights in, must be happy.
But when, or where?-this world was made for Cæsar:
I'm weary of conjectures, this must end them.

[Laying his hand upon his sword.


Thus am I doubly armed: my death and life,
my bane and antidote are both before me.
This in a moment brings me to an end;
but this informs me I shall never die.
The soul, secur'd in her existence, smiles
at the drawn dagger, and defies it's point.
The stars shall fade away, the sun himself
grow dim with age, and nature sink in years,
but thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
unhurt amidst the war of elements,

the wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds.
What means this heaviness, that hangs upon me?
this lethargy, that creeps through all my senses?
nature, oppress'd and harass'd out with care,
sinks down to rest. This once I'll favour her,
that my awaken'd soul may take her flight,
renew'd in all her strength, and fresh with life,
an off'ring fit for Heav'n. Let guilt or fear
disturb man's rest, Cato knows neither of them,
indiff'rent in his choice to sleep or die.


But ha! who's this? my son! Why this intrusion? were not my orders that I would be private?

why am I disobey'd


Alas, my father!

what means this sword, this instrument of death? let me convey it hence.


Rash youth, forbear!

Por. Oh, let th' pray'rs, th' entreaties of your friends, their tears, their common danger, wrest it from you. Cato. Would'st thou betray me? Would'st thou give

a slave, a captive, into Cæsar's hands? retire, and learn obedience to a father,

[me up

« 이전계속 »