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Horatia. It may be so. Stay, stay; be sure you tell him,
If he rejećts my suit, no power on earth
Shall force me to his arms. I will devise—
I'll die and be reveng'd
Paleria. Away, my brother!
But, Oh, for pity, do your office justly
[dside to Valerius.
Let not your passion blind your reason now ;
But urge your cause with ardor.
Walerius. By my soul,
I will, Valeria. Her distress alarms me;
And I have now no interest but hers. [Exit.
“Valeria. Come, dearest maid, indulge not thus
“Hope smiles again, and the sad prospest clears.
“Who knows th’ effect your message may producer
“The milder senators ere this perhaps
“Have mov’d your lover's mind; and if he doubts,
Horatia. He’s gone—I had a thousand things—
And yet I’m glad he’s gone. Think you, Valeria,
Your brother will delay —They may engage
Before he reaches thern.
/a/eria. The field's so near,
That a few minutes brings him to the place.
“And 'tis not probable the senators
“So soon should yield a cause of so much justice.
“Horatia. Alas ! they should have thought on that
“'Tis now too late. The lion when he's rous'd
“Must have his prey, whose den we might have
“In safety while he slept. To draw the sword,
“And fire the youthful warrior's breast to arms
-- with awful visions of immortal fame,
“And then to bid him sheath it, and forget
“ He ever hop'd for conquest and renown—
“ Vain, vain attempt
“ Valeria. Yet when that just attempt
“Is seconded by love, and beauty’s tears
“Lend their soft aid to melt the hero down,
“What may we not expect 2
“Horatia. My dear Valerial
“ Fain would I hope I had the power to move him.”
Paleria. My dear Horatia, success is yours already.
Horatia. And yet, should I succeed, the hard-gain'd
May chance to rob me of my future peace.
He may not always with the eyes of love
Look on that fondness which has stabb'd his fame.
He may regret too late the sacrifice
He made to love, and a fond woman’s weakness;
And think the milder joys of social life
But ill repay him for the mighty loss
Paleria. Pray, forbear;
And search not thus into eventful time
For ilis to come. “This fatal temper, friend,
“Alive to feel, and curious to explore 1.
“Each distant objećt of refin'd distress,
“Shuts out all means of happiness, nor leaves it
“In fortune's power to save you from destruction.”
Like some distemper'd wretch, your wayward mind
Rejects all nourishment, or turns to gall
The very balm that should relieve its anguish.
He will admire thy love, which could persuade him
To give up glory for the milder triumph
Of heart-felt ease and soft humanity.
Horatia. I fain would hope so. Yet we hear not of
Your brother, much I fear, has su'd in vain.
Could we not send to urge this slow express i–
This dread uncertainty. I long to know
My life or death at once.
“Palería. The wings of love
“Cannot fly faster than my brother's zeal
“Will bear him for your service.
“Horatia. I believe it,
“Yet doubt it too. My sickly mind unites
Paleria. Shall I to the walls
I may from thence with ease survey the field,
And can dispatch a messenger each moment,
To tell thee all goes well.
Horatia. My best Valerial
Fly then; “I know thy heart is there already.”
Thou art a Roman maid; and though thy friendship
Detains thee here with one who scarce deserves
That sacred name, art anxious for thy country.
But yet for charity think kindly of me;
For thou shalt find by the event, Valeria,
I am a Roman too, however wretched. [Exit Valeria.
Am I a Roman then Ye powers! I dare not
Resolve the fatal question I propose.
If dying would suffice, I were a Roman :
But to stand up against this storm of passions,
Transcends a woman’s weakness. Hark! what noise?
*Tis news from Curiatius l—Love, I thank thee!
Well, does he yield Distraćt me not with silence.
Say, in one word
Serv. Your father
Horatia. What of him
Would he not let him yield Oh, cruel father
Serv. Madam, he’s here
Serv. Borne by his attendants.
Horatia. What mean'st thou ?
Enter Ho RATI Us, led in by his Servants.
Horatius. Lead me yet a little onward ; I shall recover straight.
Horatia. My gracious sire 1
Horatius. Lend me thy arm, Horatia—So—-My
Be not surpris’d ; an old man must expect
These little shocks of nature; they are hints
To warn us of our end,
Horatia. How are you, sir? Horatius. Better, much better. My frail body could not Support the swelling tumult of my soul. Horatia. No accident, I hope, alarm'd you, sir! My brothers— Horatius. Here, go to the field again, You, Cautus and Vindicius, and observe Each circumstance. I shall be glad to hear The manner of the fight. Horatia. Are they engag’d Horatius. They are, Horatia. But first let me thank thee For staying from the field. I would have seen The fight myself; but this unlucky illness Has forc'd me to retire. Where is thy friend ?
Enter a Servant, who gives a paper to Ho RATIA, and retires.
What paper's that Why dost thou tremble so
Here, let me open it. [Takes the paper and opens it.]
From Curiatius I
Horatia. Oh, keep me not in this suspense, my
Relieve me from the rack.
Horatius. He tells thee here,
He dare not do an action that would make him
Unworthy of thy love; and therefore–
Horatia. Dies l—
Well—I am satisfied.