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Beside his native Thames our poet long
Their nation's glory on th' obedient main,
MEN. DUMNOR1X, chief of the Trinobantians. ISES \ Officers under Dumnoris.
BoASICEA, Queen of the Iceniaru, Venusia, Wife of Dumnorix.
Roman Ambassador, Icenians, and Trinobantians. Scene.—The British Camp before the Tent of Dumnorix.
Enter BoADrcZA, DorvoRJX, Ictnuim, Triaobantmnt, and Raman jtmta-uattor.
Rom. Am. Scrrosius, leader of the Roman arras. With gentlest greetings to the Icenian queen. And Dumnonx, the Tnnobarrtian chief, Sends health, and protien friendship. Let the
wrongs, The mutual wrongs sustained by Rome and Britain
Am4. May stern Andate, war's victorious goddes*, .
Again resign me to your impious rage,
Rom. Am. Yes, to treat,
Dum. How shall we treat with those, whose
hearts Compassion cannot melt, nor shame controul, Nor justice awe, nor piety restrain, Nor kindness win, i.or gratitude can bind?
Ram. Am. Thoo art a stranger to our general's
virtues, No pillager, Like Catus, but a soldier, To cairn and sober discipline inured; He would redress, not widen, your complaints.
I>m. Can he restore the violated maid To her untainted punty ind tune? Can he persuade inexorable death To yieki our slaughtered eiders from the grave- I No, nor by soothing tales elude our vengeance.
Rom. Am. Yet hear us calmly, ere from yonder hills You call the legions of imperial Rome, And wake her eagles, which would *leep in peace.
Bead. Begone, and bear defiance to your legions. Tell them, I come; that Boadicea comes. Fierce with her wrongs, and terrible in vengeance, To roil her chariot o'er their firmest ranks, To mil their soaring eagles with the dust, Ami spurn their pride beneath her horses' hoofs.
Him. Am. Then be prepared for war.
Boa J. We are prepared. Come from your hills, ye fugitive remains Of shattered cohorts, by their fear preserved. The embattled nations of our peopled isle, Yet fresh from seventy thousand slaughtered Romans, Shall add yon refuse to the purpled heap. And yet aiuiii triumphant desolation, Though flames each Roman coiouy devour, Though each distracted matron view her infant Grasp with its tender hands the piercing spear; Though your grey lathers to the falchion's edge Each feeble head surrender—my revenge Will pine unsated, and my greatness want Redress proportioned to a queen's disgrace.
Dum. Go, and report this answer to Suetonius: Too long have parents' sighs, the cries of orphans, And tears of widows, signalized your swav, Since your ambitious Julius first advanced His murderous standard on our peaceful shores. At length, unfettered from his parent sloth, The British genius lilts his ponderous hands, To hurl, with ruin, his collected wrath, For all the wrongs a century hath borne, In one black period, on the Roman race.
Rum. Am. Vet, ere we part, your price of ransom name For the two captive Romans.
Bond. Not the wealth, Which loads the palaces of sumptuous Rome, Shall bribe my fury. Hence, and teH your legions," The hungry ravens, which inhabit round The chalky cliffs of Albion, shall assemble To feast upon the limbs of these, your captains, Shall riot in the gore of Roman chiefs, These masters of the world !—Produce the prisoners, [in an let inn it.
Eater ENOBARBUS and FLAMINIUS in chains.
Boad. Stay, if thou wilt, and see our victims full. [To the Ambassador.
Enob. [To Boad.] Dart not on me thy fiery eyes, barbarian! Vain are thy efforts to dismay a Roman. Life is become unworthy of my care; And these vile limbs, by galling chains dishonoured, I give most freely to the wolves and thee! Hunt. Am. Mistaken queen! the Romans do not want These instigations, nor thy proud defiance, To meet your numbers in the vale below. Enob. [To the Ambas.] Then, wherefore dost thou linger here in vain? Commend us to Suetonius; bid him straight Arrange his conquering legions in the field, There teach these rash barbarians to repent Of their disdain, and wish for peace too late. Rom. Am. [To the prisonert.\ Yes, to Suetoni- • us, and the Roman camp, These heavy commendations will we bear: That, for two gallant countrymen, our love And indignation, at their fate, may sharpen Each weapon's point, and strengthen every nerve, Till humbled Britain have appeased their sliades.
[Exit. Enob. Come, let us know our fate. Boad. Prepare for death. Enob. Then cease to loiter, savage. Dum. [To Enob.] Now, by Heaven, Wert thou no Roman, I could save and love thee. That dauntless spirit, in another breast, And in a blameless cause, were truly noble, But shews, in thec, the murderer and ruffian. Enob. Thy hate or favour are alike to me. Flam. [To Dum.] May I demand, illustrious . Trinobantian, Why must we fall, because uncertain war Hath made us captives?
Dum. If, in open battle, With generous valour to have faced our arms, Were all our charge against thee, thou might'st
rest, Secure of life; but leading thee to die Is execution on a general robber. Enob. [To Flam.] And dost thou meanly sue
to these barbarians? Flam. [To Dum.] Though our rapacious countrymen have drawn Your just resentment, we are guiltless both. Baud. [To Flam.] So are ten thousand infants, whom the name, The single name of Roman shall condemn, Like thee, to perish by the unsparing sword. Flam. Yet more tlian guiltless, we may plead desert With Boadicea.
Boad. Insolent pretension!
This shall enlarge the portion of thy sufferings; For this, not only shall thy blood eiubrue Andate's shrine, but torture shall be added, And fury wanton in thy various pains.
Enob. [To Boad.] Produce thy tortures; them
and thee we scorn. Ten. Fall back with reverence, Trinobantian soldiers! See who advances from your general's tent.
Ven. Victorious sister, may the unresisting labour Of fortune weave new honours to adorn thee, And Dumnorix, thy colleague, and my lord. But if, amid these warlike consultations, Ere yet the ordered pomp of battle moves, A supplicating sound may reach thy ear, Stoop from thy glory to an act of mercy. Thy doom pronounced on these unhappy captives
fin. Their deservings, and thy daughter's prayer, Mixed with my own compassion, from the tent Have called me forth, a suitor to thy pity, That thou wouldst hear and spare them.
Boad. Spare these captives I
Dum. Why this request, Venusia?
Ven. Give them hearing:
Dum. Let us hear. Proceed. [To Flam.
Flam. The Romans' late injustice we abhorred, Nor joined the band of spoilers. In that season, We chanced one day to wander through the forest, Which parts our confines from the Icenian land We found a beauteous virgin in our way.
Boad. Wretch, dost thou hope to barter with our sister For thy base life?
Flam. I fear not death, oh, queen!
Enob. Death is thy terror; reason else would teach thee, No gratitude with cruelty can dwell.
Flam. Deep in that wood we met the lovely maid, Chased by a brutal soldier. At our threats He soon retreated. To our home we led her, From insult guarded, sent her back with honour: Nor was she less than Boadicea's daughter.
Ven. Now, dearest sister, whose successful standard Not valour more than equity upholds; And thou, my husband, who dost rise in arms, Oppressive deeds in others to chastise, From your own guiding justice will you stray, And blend deservers with the herd of guilt?
Dum. And are you Romans I Yes, we will, Venusia, Repay their worthy deed. Strike off their fetter?,
Boad. What do I hear! A British chief's command! Who'er unchains a Roman, on mankind
Lets loot oppression, n-joJerjce, and rapine. Sets treason, falsehood, vice, and murder free! Fen. Yet these preserved dry Emmfline from
shame. Boad. Not less the victim of eternal shame Wa she conducted to their hateful mansion. To euard her honour, and be less than ruffians, Had been repugnant to their name and race; But fear of me compelled them to relieve her. Then shall two Romans, nursed in fraud and
fal^hood, From childhood trained to each flachioos deed. By coloured pleas to shun the fate they merit, Here find regard against the thousand moutlt* Of Bondicea's sufferings? No, this moment Shall they expire ia torture.
Ven. Yet reflect; Of all the paths, which lead to human bliss, The most secure and grateful to our steps With mercy and humanity is marked. The sweet-toneued rumour of a gracious deed Can charm from hostile hands the uplifted blade, The gall of anger into milk transform, And dress the power of enmity in smiles.
Baud. Still dost thou dare, Venusia
Dum. Gently, sister: And, trust me, these resemble virtuous men. Boad. Was I not virtuous, whom the Romans lashed? Were not my violated children virtuous?— Bear them this instant to the fierce-1 rack; And, while their trembling limbs are strained
with torture, While, through the cruel agony of pain, The bloody drops bedew their shivering cheeks, Tell them how gentle are the pangs they feci, To those the soul of Boadicea proved, When Roman rage her naked limbs exposed, And marked her flesh with ever-during shame! Dum. [To the Britom.] Withhold your hand. Boad. What means the Trinobantian? Dum. To save thy benefactors, and proclaim, Whate'er by valour we extort from fortune, We yet deserve by justice.
Boad. To contend With Boadicea, and protect her foes, Did she awaken thy ignoble sloth, Which else, without resentment of thy wrongs, Had slept obscure at home? Dum. Forbear; be calm. Boad. Yes, under bondage thou hadst tamely bowed, Had not I fired thy slow, inactive soul.
Dum. Not with unbridled passion, I confess, I wield the sword and mount the warlike car. With careful eyes I viewed our suffering isle, And meditated calmly to avenge her. Unmoved by rage, my soul maintains her purpose Through one unaltered course; and oft before As I have guided thy unruly spirit, Against its wildness will I now protect thee, And from a base, inhuman action save thec, Boad. Thy boasted calmness is the child of fear;
Thou trembles* to exasperate the foe-
Dum. They will not move,
rVn. Husband, sister, bear! Oh, if my bumbled voice, my prostrate limbs, If tears and signs of anguish may atone
For this pernicioos discord I have raised
£W. [To Yes.] Hence with thy despicable
And thou, presumptuous, what invidious power,
Dum. No, by Andatc, I contend not with thee.
boad. Now Heaven fulfil my curses on thy head! May every purpose of thy soul be frustrate, May infamy and ruin overtake thee, May base captivity and chains o'erwhelm thee, May shameful crimson from thy shoulders start, Like mine, dishonoured with a servile scourge! With pain all shivering, and thy flesh contracting, Low may'st thou crouch beneath the expected
Tenan. Alas, great princess!
Btxul. [To the Britons.] Ungrateful and per-
thrown, Your javelins broken, and in liasty flight Far from your trembling hands the buckler cast. Did not the insatiate thirst, which burns my soul To empty every vein of Roman blood, Protect you, traitors, from my indignation. But, by the ensanguined altars of Andate, Thou, Dumnorix, be sure, shalt rue this day; For thou, henceforward, art to me a Roman.
[Exit. Ten. Oh, Dumnorix! Dum. Let not this frantic woman Grieve thy mild nature—Romans, cease to fear; These are my tents: retire in safety thither.
[Exeunt Flam, and £xob
Do thou go forth this instant and command
[T- Tenan. Each ardent youth to gird his falchion round him, His ponderous spear to loosen from the turf, And brace the target firmly on his arm. His car let every charioteer prepare, His warlike seat each combatant assume, That every banner may in battle wave, Ere the sun reaches his meridian height.
I'cu. My lord and husband!
Dum. Wherefore dost thou hold mc, And in my passage thy endearments plant? I must prepare this moment to confront The foul and ghastly face of cruel war: And, by the gods, I rather court at present That shape of horror than thy beauteous form. Then go, thou dear intruder, and remove Thy softness from me.
Ven. I will stay no longer Than brave Tenantius hath performed thy orders. Long have I known thv valour, skilled to throw The rapid dart, and lift the unconquered shield. A confidence, like this, hath still diffused Enough of firmness through my woman's heart, Ne'er to molest thee with a woman's fears, This day excepted; now my weakness governs, And terror, too importunate, will speak. Ha."t thon encountered yet such mighty powers As down that mountain suddenly will rush? From every part the Romans arc assembled, All versed in arms, and terrible in valour.
Dum. Tell me, thou lovely coward, am not I As terrible? or falls the Roman sword On the tough buckler, and the crested helm. With deadlier weight than mine? Away, and fear
not; Secure and calm, repose thee in thy tent; Think on thy husband, and believe he conquers: Amid the rage of battle he will think On thee; for thee he draws the martial blade, For thy loved infants gripes the pointed ash. Go, and expect me to return victorious; Thy hand snail dress my wounds, and oil be well.
Ven. Far better be our fortune, than for thee To want that office, from my faithful hand, Or me to stain thy triumphs with my tears!
Dum. Fear not. I tell thee, when thou scest my limbs With dust bespread, my brows with glorious
sweat, And some distinguished wound to grace my breast,
Thou, in the fulness of thy love, shalt view me. And swear, I seem most comely in thy sight. Thy virtue, then, shall view me worthier of thee, Than did thy fondness on our nuptial day.
Ven. It shall be so. All wounded thou shalt •find My heart prepared to stifle its regret, And smooth my forehead with obedient calmness. Yet hear mc further; something will I offer More than the weak effects of female dread; Thou goest to fight in discord with thy colleague: It is a thought, which multiplies my fears.
Dum. Well urged, thou dearest counsellor, who best Canst heal this mischief. Let thy meekness try The soft persuasion of a private conference, To win from error a bewildered sister, While none nre present to alarm her pride.
Ven. I go, but, trembling, doubt my vain attempt; Unless, commissioned with thy dear injunctions, My soul, exerted to perform thy pleasure. Could give persuasion all my force of duty.
Dum. Hark! we are summoned.
Tenan. Every band is formed: The Romans, too, in close arrangement stand. Dum. Ye warriors, destined to begin the on'
set, My Trinobantians t it is time to seek The embattled foe. And you, all-judging gods! Look down benignant on a righteous cause. Indeed we cannot give you, like the Romans, A proud and sumptuous offering: we abound not In marble temples, or in splendid altars: Yet though we want this vain, luxurious pomp, Rough though we wander on the mountain's
head, Through the deep vale, and o'er the craggy rock. We still demand your favour; we can shew Hands, which for justice draw the avenging steel, Firm hearts, and manners undebased by fraud. To you, my dauntless friends, what need of
words? Your cities have been sacked, your children slain, Your wives dishonoured—Lo! on yonder hills You see the spoilers; there the ruffians stand. Your hands are armed; then-follow, and revenge.
Enter Flaminius and ENOBARBUS.
Flam. Ho! Enobarbus, thou may'st now come forward. What has thy angry soul been brooding o'er?
Enob. Well, thon hast sued, and hast obtained
thy suit; Of these barbarians meanly hast implored Thy wretched life, and hast it. Must I thank
thee For this uncommon privilege to stand A tame spectator of the Roman shame,