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SCENE III.- ROME-A STATE APARTMENT IN THE PALACE
Enter TULLIA, preceded by Guards, Banner Bearers, Ladies, and followed by VALERIUS. She appears perturbed, and speaks apart.
Tul. (Apart.] Why should the steady mind to shadows yield?
And yet this vision shakes my frame with horror !
I thought his spirit thundered in my ear,
“Remember when, with wild ambition's frenzy,
And all Rome's empire in your view, you drove
Your chariot-wheels o'er your dead father's body,
Up to the shouting Forum !” Why, my soul,
Dost thou not shun the remembrance of that hour?
'T was but the cause
For this base clay,
How differs it from the dull earth we tread on,
When the life's gone? · But, next, the Sibyl came
Whose mystic book at such a price we bought,
And cried, “The race of Tarquin shall be kings
Till a fool drive them hence, and set Rome free !"
Strange prophecy! - What fool? — It can not be
That poor dolt, the companion of my sons ! -
Hark thee, Valerius — Know'st thou that same fool
Now in the camp?
Val. I know him well. — A man
Who, when he had a name, was Lucius Junius :
A braver citizen Rome never boasted,
And wise and learned withal : now changed, alas !
A spectacle which humbles me to look on !
Tul. But is he harmless in his moody humours?
Val. Tame as my horse, which, though devoid of reason,
Shall turn, shall stop, and, at my angry bidding,
Shall kneel till I am throned on his back!
And this shall Junius : the like instinct stirs
Junius and him,
Tul. [Apart] Hence, idle fears ! -
- Yet, when he went to Delphi, 't is given out
The oracle addressed him with strange portents,
And each night since, my dreams have been disturbed
By a wild form, too much resembling his,
Leading our soldiers forth with sword and flame,
Revolters from the camp, to storm the palace.
But he is sent from thence, and shall be watched.
Hor. Your orders are obeyed : Lucius awaits.
Z ul. Set him before us.
[Exit HORATIUS. [TO VALERIUS.] Tell me, will he answer If we do question him?
Val. I think he will :
Yet sometimes, when the moody fit doth take him,
He will not speak for days; yea, rather starve
Than utter nature's cravings; then, anon
He'll prattle shrewdly, with such witty folly
As almost betters reason.
HORATIUS returns with LUCIUS JUNIUS.
Tul. Hark thee, fellow,
How art thou called ?
Luc. A fool.
Tul. Fool, for thy nature :
Thou answerest well, but I demand thy name.
Luc. Nothing but fool.
Tul. His faculties are brutish :
Brutus shall be thy name.
Bru. Thanks to your grace !
Hor. Dost like thy new name, gentle brute?
Bru. So well,
Who will may take the fool. I care not who -
Your highness, an' it like you.
Hor. I the fool!
Sirrah, good words, or I will have thee beaten.
Bru. A fool thou wilt not beat a brute thou dar'st not,
For the dull ass will kick against his striker,
If struck too harshly.
Tul. Let me hear no more ;
There's mischief in his folly. Send him hence. (BRUTUS going.
But stay — I'll search him farther. — Hark thee, Brutus :
Thou wast at Delphi, with our sons the princes
Tell me — what questions put they to Apollo?
Bru. Your sons did ask who should be chief in Rome.
Tul. Ha! What replied the oracle to that?
Bru. With pains and strugglings, the prophetic dame
This destiny reported from her god –
“Great and most glorious shalt that Roman be,
Who first shall greet his mother with a kiss."
Tul. That is fulfilled by Sextus.
Hor. Ay, he straight
Hastened from thence, and kissed the queen, his mother.
Bru. Woe for me, I have no mother! -
And yet I kissed her first.
Tul. Thou kissed her? Thou?
Bru. Yea, madam ; for just then my foot did slip
In the fresh blood of a new-slaughtered victim,
And, falling, I did kiss my mother — earth.
Tul. Oh, that the earth had swallowed thee outright,
Till thou hadst kissed the centre! I perceive,
The gods are leagued with folly to destroy us.
blood chills at my heart. Away!
[Exit TULLIA, Guards and Ladies, rapidly.
Hor. Hark thee, thou Brutus :- I in part suspect
Thou ap'st this folly; if I find thee trifling
Or juggling with the Pythia for predictions,
By all the gods, I'll have thee flayed, thy skin
Striped into thongs, to strangle thee withal.
Dissembling varlet ! -
[Crosses, and strikes BRUTUS, who seizes him. Val. Shame, my lord ! forbear! Threat'ning a fool, you do but wrong yourself.
Hor. But that the princes love his son, brave Titus,
My dagger should have pierced his throat ere now,
And sent him to his mother earth forever!
He shall be watched. — Come, come with me, Valerius.
[Exit. Val. The gods restore thee to thyself, And us to thee !
Bru. [Alone.] A little longer,
A little longer yet support me, patience !
The day draws on: it presses to the birth
I see it in the forming womb of time —
The embryo liberty. — Ha !- 't is my son —
Down, rebel nature, down!
Tit. Welcome to Rome !
Would I might welcome thee to reason, too!
Bru. Give me thy hand — nay, give it me
Tit. What would'st thou ? Speak to thy son.
Bru. I had a thing to say,
But I have lost it. Let it pass
Tit. Look not upon me with those eyes, but speak.
What is it that annoys thee? tell thy friend -
How can I serve thee? What dost lack?
Thou canst do much at court.
Tit. Ah, this is nothing !
Bru. So much the fitter for a fool's petition, And a court promise.
Tit. Oh, this trifling racks me.
Bru. Lend me thine ear: I'll tell a secret to thee
Worth a whole city's ransom.
This it is :
Nay, ponder it, and lock it in thy heart
There are more fools, my son, in this wise world,
Than the gods ever made.
Tit. Say'st thou, my father?
Expound this riddle. If thy mind doth harbour
Aught that imports a son like me to know,
Or, knowing, to achieve, declare it.
Bru. Now, my son,
Should the great gods, who made me what thou see'st,
Repent, and in their vengeance cast upon me
The burden of my senses back again –
What wouldst thou say?
Tit. Oh, my lamented father,
Would the kind gods restore thee to thy reason —
Bru. Then, Titus, then I should be mad with reason.
Had I the sense to know myself a Roman,
This hand should tear this heart from out my ribs,
Ere it should own allegiance to a tyrant.
If, therefore, thou dost love me, pray the gods
To keep me what I am. Where all are slaves,
None but the fool is happy.
Tit. We are Romans Not slaves
Bru. Not slaves? Why, what art thou ?
Tit. Thy son.
Dost thou not know me?
Bru. You abuse my folly.
I know thee not. Wert thou my son, ye gods,
Thou wouldst tear off this sycophantic robe,
Tuck up thy tunic, trim these curled locks
To the short warrior-cut, vault on thy steed;
Then, scouring through the city, call to arms,
And shout for liberty !
Tit. [Starts.] Defend me, gods !
Bru. Ha! does it stagger thee?
Tit. For liberty?
Saidst thou for liberty ? — It cannot be.
Bru. Indeed !- 't is well no more.
Tit. What would my father?
Bru. Begone! you trouble me.
Tit. Nay, do not scorn me.
Bru. Said I for liberty? I said it not:
The awful word, breathed in a coward's ear,
Were sacrilege to utter. Hence, begone !
Said I you were my son ?- 'Tis false : I'm foolish;
My brain is weak, and wanders; you abuse it.
Tit. Ah, do not leave me; not in anger leave me.
Bru. Anger? What's that? I am content with folly;
Anger is madness, and above my aim !
Hark! here is music for thee, — food for love,
And beauty to serve in the rich repast.
Tarquinia comes. Go, worship the bright sun,
And let poor Brutus wither in the shade.
Tit. Oh, truly said ! bright as the golden sun
Tarquinia's beauty beams, and I adore !
TARQUINIA enters, preceded by Damsels, bearing a crown of gold, some with censers, etc., proper for the ceremonials of a dedica
tion to Fortune.
What dedication, or what holy service,
Doth the fair client of the gods provide ?
In the celestial synod is there one
Who will not listen to Tarquinia's prayer?
Tar. I go to Fortune's temple, to suspend
Upon the votive shrine this golden crown.
While incense fills the fane, and holy hymns
Are chanted for my brother's safe return.
What shall I ask for Titus ?
Tit. Though the goddess,
In her blind bounty, should unthrone the world,
To build me one vast empire, my ambition,
If by thy love unblest, would slight the gift :
Therefore of Fortune I have naught to ask :
She hath no interest in Tarquinia's heart
Nature, not Fortune, must befriend me there.
Tar. Thy gentle manners, Titus, have endeared thee,
Although a subject Roman, to Tarquinia.
My brother Sextus wears thee next his heart;
The queen herself, of all our courtly youth,
First in her favour holds the noble Titus;
And though my royal father well may keep
A jealous eye upon thy Junian race,
A race unfriendly to the name of king, –