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My prince may strike me dead, and I’ll be dumb;
But whilst I live I must not hold my tongue,
And languish out old age in his displeasure.
Jub. Thou know'st the way too well into my heart.
I do believe thee loyal to thy prince. -
Syph. What greater instance can I give I’ve
To do an action which my soul abhors,
And gain you whom you love, at any price.
Jub. Was this thy motive 2 I have been too hasty.
Syph. And 'tis for this my prince has call'd me
Jub. Sure thou mistak’st; I did not call thee so.
Syph. You did, indeed, my prince, you call'd me
Nay, further, threaten’d you’d complain to Cato.
Of what, my prince, would you complain to Cato:
That Syphax loves you, and would sacrifice,
His life, nay, more, his honour, in your service?
Jub. Syphax, I know thou lov'st me; but indeed
Thy zeal for Juba carry'd thee too far.
Honour's a sacred tie, the law of kings,
The noble mind’s distinguishing perfection,
That aids and strengthens Wirtue where it meets her,
And imitates her actions where she is not ;
It ought not to be sported with.
Syph. Believe me, prince, you make old Syphax
To hear . talk—but ’tis with tears of joy.
If e'er your father's crown adorn your brows,
Numidia will be blest by Cato's lectures.
Jub. Syphax, thy hand; we’ll mutually forget
The warmth of youth, and frowardness of age :
Thy prince esteems thy worth, and loves thy person-
If e'er the sceptre come into my hand,
Syphax shall stand the second in my kingdom., .
Syph. Why will you overwhelm my age with kind-
My joys grow burdensome, I sha’n’t support it. Jub. Syphax, farewell. I’ll hence, and try to find - Some blest occasion, that may set me right In Cato's thoughts. I’d rather have that man Approve my deeds, than worlds for my admirers. - ..[Exit. Syph. Young men soon give, and soon forget, af. fronts; - Old age is slow in both—A false old traitors— These words, rash boy, may chance to cost thee dear. My heart had still some foolish fondness for thee, But hence, ’tis gone! I give it to the winds: Caesar, I’m wholly thine.—
All hail, Sempronius!
Well, Cato's senate is resolved to wait
The fury of a siege, before it yields.
Sem. Syphax, we both were on the verge of fate;
Lucius declared for peace, and terms were offer'd
To Cato, by a messenger from Caesar. -
Should they submit, ere our designs are ripe,
We both must perish in the common wreck,
Lost in the general, undistinguish’d ruin.
Syph. But how stands Cato
Sem. Thou hast seen mount Atlas:
Whilst storms and tempests thunder on its brows
And oceans break their billows at its feet,
It stands unmoved, and glories in its height;
Such is that haughty man; his tow’ring soul,
*Midst all the shocks and injuries of fortune,
Rises superior, and looks down on Caesar.
Syph But what's this messenger ?
Sem, I’ve practised with him,
And found a means to let the victor know,
That Syphax and Sempronius are his friends,
But let me now examine in my turn;
Is Juba fix’d 2 - -
Syph. Yes—but it is to Cato. I’ve tried the force of every reason on him, Sooth'd and caress'd; been angry, sooth'd again; Laid safety, life, and interest in his sight; But all are vain, he scorns them all for Cato. Sem. Come, ’tis no matter; we shall do without him. He'll make a pretty figure in a triumph, And serve to trip before the victor's chariot. Syphax, I now may hope, thou hast forsook Thy Juba's cause, and wishest Marcia mine. Syph. May she be thine as fast as thou would'st have her. Sem. Syphax, I love that woman; though I curse Her and myself, yet, spite of me, I love her. Syph. Make Cato sure, and give up Utica, Caesar will ne’er refuse thee such a trifle. But are thy troops prepared for a revolt 2 Does the sedition catch from man to man, And run among the ranks : Sem. All, all is ready : The factious leaders are our friends, that spread Murmurs and discontents among the soldiers; They count their toilsone marches, long fatigues, Unusual fastings, and will bear no more This medley of philosophy and war. Within an hour they’ll storm the senate house. ... Syph. Meanwhile I’ll draw up my Numidian troops Within the square, to exercise their arms, And, as I see occasion, favour thee. I laugh, to see how your unshaken Cato Will look aghast, while unforeseen destruction Pours in upon him thus from every side. So, where our wide Numidian wastes extend, Sudden th’ impetuous hurricanes descend, Wheel through the air, in circling eddies play, Tear up the sands, and sweep whole plains away. J)
The helpless traveller, with wild surprise,
Sees the dry desert all around him rise,
And, smother'd in the dusty whirlwind, dies. [Eaceunit.
- A Chamber.
Enter MARCUs and Port TIUs.
Marc. Thanks to my stars, I have not ranged about The wilds of life, ere I could find a friend; Nature first pointed out my Portius to me, And early taught me, by her secret force, To love thy person, ere I knew thy merit, Till what was instinct, grew up into friendship. Por. Marcus, the friendships of the world are oft Confed'racies in vice, or leagues of pleasure; Ours has severest virtue for its basis, And such a friendship ends not but with life. Mar. Fortius, thou know'st my soul in all its weakness; Then, pr’ythee, spare me on its tender side; Indulge me but in love, my other passions
Shall rise and fall by virtue’s nicest rules:
Proon love’s well-timed, 'tis not a fault to
The strong, the brave, the virtuous, and the wise,
Sink in the soft captivity together.
Marc. Alas, thou talk'st like one that never felt
Th’ impatient throbs and longings of a soul,
That pants and reaches after distant good |
A lover does not live by vulgar time;
Believe me, Portius, in my Lucia's absence
Life hangs upon me, and becomes a burden;
And yet, when I behold the charming maid,
I’m ten times more undone; while hope and fear,
And grief and rage, and love, rise up at once,
And with variety of pain distract me. r
Por. What can thy Portius do to give thee help ?
Marc. Portius, thou oftenjoy'st the fair one’s pre-
Sence, - -
Then undertake my cause, and plead it to her,
With all the strength and heat of eloquence
Fraternal love and friendship can inspire.
Tell her thy brother languishes to death,
And fades away, and withers in his bloom;
That he forgets his sleep, and loathes his food,
That youth, and health, and war, are joyless to him;
Describe his anxious days, and restless nights,
And all the torments that thou see'st me suffer.
Por. Marcus, I beg thee give me not an office,
That suits with me so ill. Thou know'st my temper.
Marc. Wilt thou behold me sinking in my woes,
And wilt thou not reach out a friendly arm,
To raise me from amidst this plunge of sorrows :
Por. Marcus, thou canst not ask what I’d refuse;
But here, believe me, I’ve a thousand reasons
Marc. I know thou’lt say my passion’s out of sea-
Son, . . . ." -
That Cato's great example and misfortunes