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Sitting in a thoughtful posture : In his hand Plato's book
on the immortality of the soul. A drawn jword or
the table by him. IT
T must be fo-Plato, thou reason'ft 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 pleasing, 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 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 Cæfar,
I'm weary of conjectures-This must end them.
[Laying his hand upon his word.
Thus am I doubly arm’d: 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 foul, securd in her existence, smiles
At the drawn dagger, and defies its point.
The stars shall fade away, the sun himself
Grow dim with age, and nature fink in years;
But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
Unhurt amidit the war of elements,
The wrecks of matter, and the crush of worlds.
What means this heaviness that hangs upon me? This lethargy that creeps through all my fenses? Nature oppress’d, and harrass’d out with care, Sinks down to rest. This once I'll favour her, That
take her flight, Renewd in all her strength, and fresh with life, An offering fit for heaven. Let guilt or fear Disturb man's rest: Cato knows neither of them, Indifferent in his choice, to sleep or die.
But ha! how'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 inftrument of death ? Let me convey it hence !
Ralh youth, forbear!
POR TIUS. o let the prayers, th' entreaties of
friends, Their tears, their common danger, wrest it from you.
с Ато. Wouldst thou betray me ? would'st thou give me up A flave, a captive, into Cæsar's hands? Retire, and learn obedience to a father, Or know, young man !
Look not thus fternly on me ; You know I'd rather die than disobey you.
'Tis well! again I'm master of myself.
Now, Cæsar, let thy troops beset our gates,
And bar each avenue, thy gathering fleets
O'er-spread the sea, and stop up every port;
Cato fhall open to himself a passage,
And mock thy hopes---
O Sir, forgive your son,
Whose grief hangs heavy on him! O my father!
How am I lure it is not the last time
I e'er thall call you so! Be not displeas'd,
o be not angry with me whilft I weep,
And, in the anguish of my heart, befeech you
To quit the dreadful purpose of your soul.
Thou hast been ever good and dutiful.
To the south gate, where Marcus holds the watch.
I saw, and call’d to stop him, but in vain ;
He toss'd his arm aloft, and proudly told me,
He would not stay and perish like Sempronius.
C Α Τ ο.
Perfidious men! but haste my son, and fee
Thy brother Marcus acts a Roman's part.
Lucius, the torrent bears too hard upon me :
Justice gives way to force : the conquer'd world
Is Cæsar's : Cato has no business in it.
While pride, oppression, and injustice reign,
The world will still demand her Cato's presence.
In pity to mankind, fubmit to Cæfar,
And reconcile thy mighty soul to life.
Would Lucius have me live to fwell the number
Of Cæsar's flaves, or by a base submission
Give up the cause of Rome, and own a tyrant ?
The victor never will impofe on Cato
Ungenerous terms. His enemies confess
The virtues of humanity are Cæsar's.
Curse on his virtues ! they've undone his country.
Such popular humanity is treason
But see young Juba ! the good youth appears
Full of the guilt of his perfidious subjects.
Alas, poor prince! his fate deserves compassion.
I blush, and am confounded to appear
Before thy presence, Cato.
What 's thy crime?
I'm a Numidian.
And a brave one too,
Thou hast a Roman foul.
J U B A.
Halt thou not heard
Of my false countrymen ?
Alas! young prince,
Falsehood and fraud shoot
The product of all climes.-Rome has its Cæsars,
'Tis generous thus to comfort the distress'd.
'Tis just to give applause where 'tis desery’d;
Thy virtue, prince, has stood the test of fortune,
Like purelt gold, that, tortur'd in the furnace,
Comes out more bright, and brings forth all its weight.