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COVENT.GARDEN. Men. Tullus Host 111us, King of Rome, - - Mr. Aickin. HoR AT I Us, a Roman Senator, - - - Mr. Farren.
PUBLI us HoR AT I Us, his Son, - - - Mr. Pope. VALERI us, a young Patrician, - - - Mr. Davies.
Women. Hor ATIA, daughter to Horatius, - - - Mrs. Merry. VAL E R1A, sister to Valerius, - - - Mrs. Bernard.
Citizens, Guards, and Attendants.
A Room in HoRATIUS's House A Soldier crosses the
Stage, HoRATIA following.
STAY, soldier. As you parted from my father,
Something I overheard of near concern,
But all imperfectly. Said you not Alba
Was on the brink of fate, and Rome determin'd
This day to crush her haughty rival's power,
Or perish in th’ attempt
Sold. 'Twas so resolv’d
This morning, lady, ere I left the camp.
Our heroes are tir’d out with ling’ring war,
And half-unmeaning fight.
Horatia. “Alas! I hop’d
“The kind remorse which touch'd the kindred states,
“And made their swords fail lightly on the breasts
“Of foes they could not hate, might have produc’d
“A milder resolution.” Then this day
Isfix'd for death or conquest? [He bows.] To me death,
Whoever.conquers 1 [Aside..] I detain you, sir.
Commend me to my brothers; say, I wish—
But wherefore should I wish The gods will crown
Their virtues with the just success they merit
Yet let me ask you, sir—
Sold. My duty, lady,
Commands me hence. Ere this they have engag’d ;
And conquest's self would lose its charms to me, .
Should I not share the danger. -
As the Soldier goes out, VALERIA enters, who looks first on him, and then on Ho RATIA.
Paleria. My dear Horatia, wherefore wilt thou court
The means to be unhappy Still enquiring,
Still more to be undone. I heard it too ;
And flew to find thee, ere the fatal news
Had hurt thy quiet, that thou might'st have learnt it
From a friend’s tongue, and dress'd in gentler terms.
Horatia. Oh, I am lost, Valerial lost to virtue.
Ev’n while my country's fate, the fate of Rome,
Hangs on the conqueror's sword, this breast can feel
A softer passion, and divide its cares.
Alba to me is Rome. Wouldst thou believe it?
I would have sent, by him thou saw'st departing,
Kind wishes to my brothers; but my tongue
Denied its office, and this rebel heart
Ev’n dreaded their success. Oh, Curiatius I
Why art thou there, or why an enemy
Paleria. Forbear this self-reproach; he is thy
And who can blame thy fears If fortune make him
A while thy country’s foe, she cannot cancel
Vows register'd above. What tho' the priest
Had not confirm'd it at the sacred altar;
Yet were your hearts united, and that union
Approv’d by each consenting parent's choice.
Your brothers lov’d him as a friend, a brother;
And all the ties of kindred pleaded for him,
And still must plead, whate'er our heroes teach us,
Of patriot-strength. Our country may demand
We should be wretched, and we must obey;
But never can require us not to feel
That we are miserable : nature there
Will give the lie to virtue.
Horatia. True; yet sure
A Roman virgin should be more than woman.
Are we not early taught te mock at pain,
And look on danger with undaunted eyes?
But what are dangers, what the ghastliest form
Of death itself?–Oh, were I only bid
To rush into the Tiber’s foaming wave,
“Swoon with uncommon floods,” or from the height
Of yon Tarpeian rock, whose giddy steep
Has turn'd me pale with horror at the sight,
I'd think the task were nothing! but to bear
These strange vicissitudes of tort’ring pain,
To fear, to doubt, and to despair as I do—
Valeria. And why despair Have we so idly learn'd
The noblest lessons of our infant days,
Our trust above Does there not still remain
The wretch's last retreat, the gods, Horatia
*Tis from their awful wills our evils spring,
And at their altars may we find relief.
say, shall we thither i-Look not thus dejected,
But answer me. A confidence in them,
Ev’n in this crisis of our fate, will calm
Thy troubled soul, and fill thy breast with hope.
Horatia. Talk not of hope; “the wretch on yonder
“Who hears the vićtor’s threats, and sees his sword
“Impending o'er him, feels no surer fate,
“Tho' less delay'd than mine.” What should I
That Alba conquer –Curs'd be every thought
which looks that way “The shrieks of captive
“Sound in my ears!”
A'aleria. Forbear, forbear, Horatia;
Nor fright me with the thought. Rome cannot fall.
hink on the glorious battles she has fought;
Has she once fail'd, though oft expos'd to danger;
And has no her immortal founder promis'd
That she should rise the mistress of the world
Horatia. And if Rome conquers, then Horatia dies.
Paleria. Why wilt thou form vain images of horror.
Industrious to be wretched : Is it then -
Become impossible that Rome should triumph,
And Curiatius live? He must, he shall; .