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CATO. Thanks to the gods ! my boy has done his duty. Portius, when I am dead, be sure thou place His urn near mine.
Long may tliey keep asunder!
O Cato, arm thy soul with all its patience ;
See where the corpse of thy dead fun approaches !
The citizens and senators, alarm'll,
Have gather'd round it, and attend it weeping.
ҫ Ато. Welcome, my son ! here lay him down, my friends, Full in my light, that I may view at leisure 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.
JUBA. Was ever man like this!
Alas, my friends! Why mouri ycu thus ? let not a private loss
Affict your hearts. 'Tis 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.
O liberty! O virtue! O my country!
Behold that upright man! Rome fills his eyes
With tears, that flow'd not o'er his own dead son. [ Afide.
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 Caefar. Oh, my friends!
How is the toil of fate, the work of ages,
The Roman empire fall’n ! O curft ambition !
Fall'n into Cæsar's hands ! Our great fore-fathers
Had left him nought to conquer but his country.
While Cato lives, Cæfar will blush to see
Mankind enilav'd, and be asham’d of empire.
Cæsar alham'd! has not he seen Pharsalia !
Cato, 'tis time thou save thyself and us.
Lose not a thought on me. I'm out of danger.
Heaven will not leave me in the victor's hand.
Cæfar shall never say, I've conquer'd Cato.
But oh! my friends, your safety fills iny heart
With anxious thoughts: a thousand secret terrors
foul : how shall I save my
friends ? 'Tis now, o Cæfar, I begin to fear thee.
Cæsar has mercy, if we aik it of him.
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, requeit it of him,
The virtue of my friends may pass unpunish'd.
Juba, my heart is troubled for thy fake.
Should I advise thee to regain Numidia,
Or feek the conqueror ?
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, 'Twill be no crime to have been Cato's friend.
Portius, draw near! my son, thou oft hast seen Thy fire engagéd in a corrupted state, Wrestling with vice and faction : now thou feest 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, Y 4
And all our frugal ancestors were bless'd
In humble virtues, and a rural life.
There live retir'd; pray for the peace
Content thyself to be obscurely good.
When vice prevails, and impious men bear fway,
The post of honour is a private station.
I hope, my father does not recommend
A life to Portius, that he scorns himself.
Farewell, my friends! if there be any
That dares not trust the victor's clemency,
Know. there are ships prepar’d by my command,
(Their fails 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 happlier 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 for. Who greatly in his country's caufe expird, Shall know he conquer’d. The firm patriot there (Who made the welfare of mankind his care) Though still, by faction, vice, and fortune, croft, Shall find the generous labour was not loft.
CATO solus, Sitting in a thoughtful posture : In his hand Plato's book
on the immortality of the foul. A drawn ; word on the table by him. T must be fo-Plato, thou reason'st well !
Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire,
This longing 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 ?
'Tis the divinity that stirs within us;
'Tis heaven itself, that points out an hereafter,
And intimates eternity to man.
Eternity! thou pleafing, dreadful, thought !
Through what variety of untry'd being,
Through what new scenes and changes must we pass !
The wide, th' unbounded prospect, lies before me;
But shadows, clouds, and darkness, rest upon it.
Here will I hold. If there 's a
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 Cæfar, I'm weary of conjectures—This must end them. [Laying his hand upon bis word.