페이지 이미지

or know, young man!—


Look not thus sternly on me; you know, I'd rather die than disobey you. Cato. 'Tis well! again I'm master of myself. Now, Cæsar, let thy troops beset our gates, and bar each avenue; thy gath'ring fleets o'erspread the sea, and stop up ev'ry port; Cato shall open to himself a passage, and mock thy hopes.


Oh, sir! forgive your son,

whose grief hangs heavy on him. Oh, my father! how am I sure it is not the last time I e'er shall call you so? Be not displeas'd, oh, be not angry with me whilst I weep. And, in the anguish of my heart, beseech you to quit the dreadful purpose of your soul! Cato. Thou hast been ever good and dutiful,

[Embracing him. Weep not, my son, all will be well again; the righteous gods, whom I have sought to please, will succour Cato, and preserve his children. [heart. Por. Your words give comfort to my drooping Cato. Portius, thou may'st rely upon my conduct; thy father will not act what misbecomes him. But go, my son, and see if aught be wanting among thy father's friends, see them embark'd: and tell me, if the winds and seas befriend them. My soul is quite weigh'd down with care, and asks the soft refreshment of a moment's sleep.

Por. My thoughts are more at ease, my heart revives. [Exit. CATO.


Oh, Marcia! Oh, my sister, still there's hope! our father will not cast away a life

so needful to us all, and to his country. He is retir'd to rest, and seems to cherish

thoughts full of peace. He has dispatch'd me hence with orders, that bespeak a mind compos'd, and studious for the safety of his friends.

Marcia, take care, that none disturb his slumbers. [Exit.

Marcia. Oh, ye immortal powers, that guard the watch round his couch, and soften his repose, [just, banish his sorrows, and becalm his soul

with easy dreams; remember all his virtues,
and shew mankind, that goodness is your care!

Enter LUCIA.

Luc. Where is your father, Marcia, where is Cato? Marcia. Lucia, speak low, he is retir'd to rest. Lucia, I feel a gentle dawning hope,

rise in my soul. We shall be happy still.

Lucia. Alas, I tremble when I think on Cato! in every view, in every thought, I tremble! Cato is stern and awful as a god;

he knows not how to wink at human frailty, or pardon weakness, that he never felt.

Marcia. Tho' stern and awful to the foes of Rome, he is all goodness, Lucia, always mild; compassionate and gentle to his friends: fill'd with domestic tenderness, the best, the kindest father! I have ever found him, easy and good, and bounteous to my wishes. Lucia. 'T is his consent alone can make us blest. Marcia, we both are equally involv'd

in the same intricate, perplex'd, distress. The cruel hand of fate, that has destroy'd

thy brother Marcus, whom we both lament

(Marcia. And ever shall lament; unhappy youth!)


Lucia. Has set my soul at large, and now I stand loose of my vow. But who knows Cato's thoughts? who knows how yet he may dispose of Portius, or how he has determin'd of thyself?

Marcia. Let him but live, commit the rest to Heav'n.


Luc. Sweet are the slumbers of the virtuous man! oh, Marcia, I have seen thy godlike father: some power invisible supports his soul, and bears it up, in all it's wonted greatness. A kind, refreshing sleep, is fall'n upon him: I saw him stretch'd at ease! his fancy lost

in pleasing dreams; as I drew near his couch, [me!" he smil❜d, and cry'd, "Cæsar, thou canst not hurt Marcia. His mind still labours with some dreadful


Lucius. Lucia, why all this grief, these floods of dry up thy tears, my child; we all are safe [sorrow? while Cato lives-his presence will protect us.

Enter JUBA.

Jub. Lucius, the horsemen are return'd from viewthe number, strength, and posture of our foes, [ing who now encamp within a short hour's march, on the high point of yon bright western tower, we ken them from afar; the setting sun

plays on their shining arms, and burnish'd helmets, and cover all the field with gleams of fire.

Luc. Marcia, 't is time we should awake thy father. Cæsar is still dispos'd to give us terms,

and waits at distance, till he hears from Cato.


Portius, thy looks spread somewhat of importance.

What tidings dost thou bring? Methinks, I see unusual gladness sparkling in my eyes.

Por. As I was hasting to the port, where now my father's friends, impatient for a passage, accuse the ling'ring winds, a sail arriv'd

from Pompey's son, who, through the realms of Spain, calls out for vengeance on his father's death,

and rouzes the whole nation up to arms.

Were Cato at their head, once more might Rome assert her rights, and claim her liberty.

But, hark! what means that groan? Oh give me way, and let me fly into my father's presence!

[Exit. Luc. Cato, amidst his slumbers, thinks on Rome, and, in the wild disorder of his soul,

mourns o'er his country.-Ha! a second groan!-heav'n guard us all!


Alas, 't is not the voice

of one who sleeps; 't is agonizing pain,

't is death is in that sound.

Re-enter PORTIUS.

Por. Oh, sight of woe!

oh, Marcia, what we fear'd, is come to pass! Cato is fall'n upon his sword


Oh, Portius,

hide all the horrors of thy mournful tale, and let us guess the rest.

I've rais'd him up,

Por. and plac'd him in his chair: where pale and faint, he gasps for breath, and, as his life flows from him, demands to see his friends. His weeping servants, obsequious to his orders, bear him hither

[The back Scene opens, and discovers CATO. Marcia. Oh Heav'n! assist me in this dreadful hour, to pay the last sad duties to my father!



Jub. These are thy triumphs, thy exploits, O Cæ-
Luc. Now is Rome fall'n indeed!-


[CATO brought forward, in his Chair.

Cato. Here set me down

Portius, come near me-Are my friends embark'd?
can any thing be thought of for their service?
whilst I yet live, let me not live in vain.

oh, Lucius, art thou here?-Thou art too good-
let this our friendship live between our children-
make Portius happy in thy daughter Lucia.-
Alas poor man, he weeps!-Marcia, my daughter-
ob, bend me forward!--Juba loves thee, Marcia.-
A senator of Rome, while Rome surviv'd,

would not have match'd his daughter with a king-
but Cæsar's arms have thrown down all distinction-
whoe'er is brave and virtuous, is a Roinan-
I'm sick to death--Oh, when shall I get loose
from this vain world, th' abode of guilt and sorrow!
And yet, methinks, a beam of light break in
on my departing soul.-Alas, I fear

I've been too hasty.O, ye powers, that search
the heart of man, and weigh his inmost thoughts,
if I have done amiss, impute it not!-

the best may err, but you are good, and- -Oh!-
Luc. There fled the greatest soul, that ever warm'd
a Roman breast. O Cato! O my friend!
thy will shall be religiouly observ'd.
But let us bear this awful corpse to Cæsar,

and lay it in his sight, that it may stand

a fence betwixt us and the victor's wrath;

Cato, tho' dead shall still protect his friends,
From hence, let fierce contending nations know
what dire effects from civil discord flow:

« 이전계속 »