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were not my orders that I would be private 2
Why am I disobey'd?
Por. Alas, my father! -
what means this sword, this instrument of death?
Let me convey it hences
Cato. Rash youth, forbear! | -
Por. Oh, let the pray'rs, th’ entreaties of your
Their tears, their common danger, wrest it from you!
Cat, wouldst thou betray me? Wouldst thou give
A slave, a captive, into Caesar's hands?
Retire, and learn obedience to a father,
Or know, young man—
Por. Look not thus sternly on me;
You know, I’d rather die than disobey you. 1.
Cato. *fis well! again I'm master of myself.
Now, Caesar, let thy troops beset our gates,
Anabar 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.-
Por. 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 eer shall call you so Be not displeased,
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 |
Căto. Thou hast been ever good and dutiful,
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.
Por. * words give comfort to my drooping
*ěart. - -
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 re-
vives— [Ea'it 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 retired to rest, and seems to cherish
Thoughts, full of peace.—He has dispatch'd me
With orders that bespeak a mind composed,
And studious for the safety of his friends.
Marcia, take care, that none disturb his slumbers.
AMarcia. Oh, ye immortal powers, that guard the
Watch rood his couch, and soften his repose,
Banish his sorrows, and becalm his soul
With easy dreams; remember all his virtues,
And show mankind that goodness is your care
Lucia. Where is your father, Marcia, where is Cato 2 Marcia. Lucia, speak low, he is retired 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 Catol 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. Though 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. 'Tis his consent alone can make us blest.
Marcia, we both are equally involved
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 determined of himself?
Marcia. Let him but live, commit the rest to
Luc. Sweet are the slumbers of the virtuous man : Oh, Marcia, I have seen thy godlike father 1 Some power invisible supports his soul, And bears it up in all its 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, He smiled, and cried, “Caesar, thou eanst not hurt
, me.” Marcia. His mind still labours with some dreadful thought.
Jub. Lucius, the horsemen are return’d from viewing
The number, strength, and posture of our foes,
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 covers all the field with gleams of fire.
Luc. Marcia, ’tis time we should awake thy father.
Caesar is still disposed to give us terms,
And waits at distance, till he hears from Cato.
Portius, thy looks speak somewhat of importance.
What tidings dost thou bring : Methinks, I see
Unusual gladness sparkle in thy 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 arrived
From Pompey’s son, who, through the realms of
Calls out for vengeance on his father’s death,
And rouses 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
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
eav'n guard us all!
Marcia. Alas, ’tis not the voice
Qf one who sleeps; ’tis agonizing pain—
"Tis death is in that sound
Por. Oh, sight of woes -
Oh, Marcia, what we fear'd is come to pass l—
Cato has fall’n upon his sword -
Luc. Oh, Portius,
Hide all the horrors of thy mournful tale,
And let us guess the rest.
Por. I’ve raised him up,
And placed 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 servants, weeping,
Obsequious to his order, bear him hither
Marcia. Oh, Heav'n assist me in this dreadful
To pay the last sad duties to my father
CATo brought on, in a Chair
Cato. Here set me down Portius, come near me—Are my friends embark'd? Can any thing be thought of for their service 2 Whilst I yet live, let me not live in vain Oh, Lucius, art thou here 3–Thou art too good Let this our friendship live between our children— Make Portius happy in thy daughter Lucia Marcia, my daughter iOh, bend me forward! Juba loves thee, Marcia— |A senator of Rome, while Rome survived, |Would not have match'd his daughter with a king—
ut Caesar's arms have thrown down all distinction— 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 breaks in On my departing soul Alas, I fear I’ve been too hasty Oh, 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!—