페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

JOSEPH ADDISON was born May 21, 1672, at Milston, of which his father was then Rector, near Ambrosebury in Wiltshire. He was early sent to school, there, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Naish; from whence he was removed to Salisbury school, and then to the Charterhouse, under the tuition of the learned Dr. Ellis. Here he first centracted an intimacy with Mr. Steele, which continued almost to his death. At fifteen he was entered of Queen's College, Oxford, and in about two years admitted to the degrees of bachelor and master of arts in that college; at which time he was celebrated for his Ístin poems, to be found in a second volume of the Musae Britanicae, collected by Addison. Being at the university, he was upon the point of ceding to the desires of his father and several of his friends, to enter into holy orders; but having, through Mr. Congreve's means, become a favourite of Lord Halifax, he was prevailed upon by that nobleman, to give up the design. He successively filled the public stations, in 1702, of Commissioner of the Appeals in the Excise; 1707, Under-Secretary of State; 1709, Secretary of Ireland, and Keeper of the Records in Ireland; 1713 (the grand climacteric of Addison's reputation, Cato appeared) Secretary to the Lords' Justices; 1714 one of the Lords Commissioners of Trade; and at last, 1717, one of the first Secretaries of State. Dr. Johnson says, "For this employment he might justly be supposed qualified by long practice of business, and by his regular ascent through other offices; but expectation is often disappointed; it is universally confessed, that he was unequal to the duties of his place. In the House of Commons he could not speak, and therefore was useless to the defence of the Government. In the office, says Pope, he could not issue an order without losing his time in quest of fine expressions." He soficited his dismissal with a pension of 1500 pounds a year. He married the Countess Dowager of Warwick, 1716; and is said to have first known her by becoming tutor to her son. Johnson says, "The Lady was at last prevailed upon to marry him, on terms much like those, on which a Turkish princess is espoused, to whom the sultan is reported to pronounce, Daughter, 1 give thee this man for thy slave.' The marriage made no addition to his happiness; it neither made them nor found them equal." In 1718 19, he had a severe dispute on The Peerage Bill with Steele, who, inveterate in his political opinions, supported them in a pamphlet called The Plebeian, which Addisan answered by another, under the title of The Old Whig. Some epithets, let drop by Addison, answered by a cutung quotation from Cato, by Steele, were the cause of their friendship's being dissolved; and every person acquainted with the friendly terms on which these two great men had lived so long, must regret, that they should finally part in acrimonious opposition. Addison died of an asthma and dropsy, on the 17th June, 1719, aged 48, leaving only one daughter behind him. The general esteem ia which his productions, both serious and humorous in The Spectator, The Tatler, and The Guardian are held, "pleads (as Spakspeare says), like ungels, trumpet-tongued, in their behalf" As a poet, his Cato, in the dramatic, and bis Campaign, in the heroic way, will ever maintain a place among the first-rate works of either kind.-And a good man's death displays the character of his life. At his last hour, he sent for a relation of his, young Lord Warwick, whose youth he supposed might be influenced by an awful lesson, when, taking bold of the young man's hand, he said "See in what peace a Christian can die!" and immediately expired.

CATO,

ACTED at Drury Lane, 1715. It is one of the first of our dramatic poems, and was performed 18 nights successively; this very successful run for a tragedy, is attributed by Dennis, who wrote a very bitter critique upon Cato, to proceed from Addison's having raised prejudices in his own favour, by false positions of preparatory criticism; and with his having poisoned the town by contradicting, in The Spectator, the established rule of poetical justice, because his own hero, with all his virtues, was to fall before a tyrant. Johnson says, "the fact is certain; the motives we mast guess. Steele packed an audience. The danger was soon over. The whole nation was, at that time, on fire with faction. The Whigs applauded every line, in which liberty was mentioned, as a satire on the Tories; and the Tories echoed every clap, to shew, that the satire was unfelt." It was ushered into notice by eight complimentary copies of verses to the author, among which, one by Steele, leads the van; besides a prologue by Pope, and an epilogue by Dr. Garth: Dr. Johnson, with the abovementioned persons, nay, even Dennis's gall, has marked this tragedy as a british classic, and a succession of audiences for above a century has proved, that it has deserved "Golden opinons from all sorts of people." Johnson observes, "Of a work so much read, it is difficult to say any thing new. About things on which the public thinks long, it commonly attains to think right; and of Cato it has been not unjustly determined, that it is rather a poem in dialogue than a dranta; rather a succession of just sentiments in elegant lanCage, than a representation of natural affections, or of any state probable or possible in human life. Nothing here exfiles or assuages emotion; here is no magical power of raising phantastic terror or exciting wild anxiety. The events are expected without solicitude, and remembered without joy or sorrow. Of the agents we have no care. Cato is a being above our solicitude, a man of whom "the gods take care," and whom we leave to their care with heedless confidence. To the rest, neither gods nor men can have much attention; for there is not one amongst them, that strongly attracts either affection or esteem. But they are made the vehicles of such sentiments and such expressions that there is scarcely a scene in the play, which the reader does not wish to impress upon his memory.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

2

Has ravag'd more than half the globe, and sees | Love is not to be reason'd down, or lost
Mankind grown thin by his destructive sword: In high ambition and a thirst of greatness;
Should he go further, numbers would be wanting Tis second life, that grows into the soul,
To form new battles, and support his crimes. Warms every vein, and beats in every pulse:
I feel it here: my resolution melts-
Ye gods, what havoc does ambition make
Among your works!

Marc. Thy steady temper, Portius,
Can look on guilt, rebellion, fraud, and Caesar,
In the calm lights of mild philosophy;
I'm tortur'd, e'en to madness, when I think
On the proud victor: ev'ry time he's nam'd
Pharsalia rises to my view!-I see
Th' insulting tyrant, prancing o'er the field,
Strew'd with Rome's citizens, and drench'd
in slaughter;

Por. Behold young Juba, the Numidian
prince,

With how much care he forms himself to glory,
And breaks the fierceness of his native temper,
To copy out our father's bright example.
He loves our sister Marcia, greatly loves her;
His eyes, bis looks, his actions, all betray it;
But still the smother'd fondness burns within
him:

When most it swells, and labours for a vent, The sense of honour, and desire of fame, His horses hoofs wet with patrician blood! Oh, Portius! is not there some chosen curse, Drive the big passion back into his heart. Some hidden thunder in the stores of heav'n, What, shall an African, shall Juba's heir Red with uncommon wrath, to blast the man Reproach great Cato's son, and show the world Who owes his greatness to his country's ruin? A virtue wanting in a Roman soul? Por. Believe me, Marcus, 'tis an impious greatness,

And mix'd with too much horror to be envied:
How does the lustre of our father's actions,
Through the dark cloud of ills that cover him,
Break out, and burn with more triumphant
brightness!

His sufferings shine, and spread a glory round

him;

Greatly unfortunate, he fights the cause
Of honour, virtue, liberty, and Rome.
Marc. Who knows not this? But what can
Cato do

Against a world, a base, degen'rate world,
That courts the yoke, and bows the neck to
Caesar?

Pent up in Utica, he vainly forms
A poor epitome of Roman greatness,
And, cover'd with Numidian guards, directs
A feeble army, and an empty senate,
Remnants of mighty battles fought in vain.
By heav'n, such virtues, join'd with such success,
Distracts my very soul! our father's fortune
Would almost tempt us to renounce his precepts.
Por. Remember what our father oft has
told us:
The ways of heav'n are dark and intricate;
Puzzled in mazes, and perplex'd with errors,
Our understanding traces them in vain,
Lost and bewilder'd in the fruitless search;
Nor sees with how much art the windings run,
Nor where the regular confusion ends.

Marc. These are suggestions of a mind at

ease:

Oh, Portius, didst thou taste but half the griefs
That wring my soul, thou couldst not talk
thus coldly.

Passion unpitied, and successless love,
Plant daggers in my heart, and aggravate

Marc. Portius, no more! your words leave
stings behind them.
Whene'er did Juba, or did Portius, show
A virtue that has cast me at a distance,
And thrown me out in the pursuits of honour?
Por. Oh, Marcus! did I know the way to

ease

Thy troubled heart, and mitigate thy pains,
Marcus, believe me, I could die to do it.

Marc. Thou best of brothers, and thou best
of friends!

Pardon a weak, distemper'd soul, that swells
With sudden gusts, and sinks as soon in calms,
The sport of passions. But Sempronius comes:
He must not find this softness hanging on me.

Enter SEMPronius.

[Exit.

Sem. Conspiracies no sooner should be
form'd

Than executed. What means Portius here?
I like not that cold youth. I must dissemble,
And speak a language foreign to my heart.

[Aside.

Good morrow, Portius; let us once embrace,
Once more embrace, while yet we both are free.
To-morrow, should we thus express
friendship,

our

Each might receive a slave into his arms.
This sun, perhaps, this morning sun's the last,
That e'er shall rise on Roman liberty.

Por. My father has this morning call'd to-
gether

To this poor hall, his little Roman senate
(The leavings of Pharsalia), to consult
If he can yet oppose the mighty torrent
That bears down Rome and all her gods before it,
Or must at length give up the world to Caesar.
Sem. Not all the pomp and majesty of Rome
Can raise her senate more than Cato's presence.

My other griefs.-Were but my Lucia kind-His virtues render our assembly awful,
Por. Thou seest not that thy brother is thy
rival;

[Aside.

They strike with something like religious fear,
And make ev'n Caesar tremble at the head
Of armies flush'd with conquest. Oh, my
Portius!

But I must hide it, for I know thy temper.
Now, Marcus, now thy virtue's on the proof, Could I but call that wondrous man my father,
Put forth thy utmost strength, work ev'ry nerve, Would but thy sister Marcia be propitious
To thy friend's vows, I might be blest indeed!
And call up all thy father in thy soul:
Por. Alas, Sempronius! wouldst thou talk
To quell the tyrant love, and guard thy heart
of love
On this weak side, where most our nature fails,
To Marcia, whilst her father's life's in danger?
Would be a conquest worthy Cato's son.
Thou might'st as well court the pale, trem-
bling vestal,

Marc. Alas, the counsel which I cannot take, Instead of healing, but upbraids my weakness.

When she beholds the holy flame expiring.
Sem. The more I see the wonders of thy race,
The more I'm charm'd. Thou must take heed,
my Portius;

The world has all its eyes on Cato's son;
Thy father's merit sets thee up to view,
And shows thee in the fairest point of light,
To make thy virtues or thy faults conspicuous.
Por. Well dost thou seem to check my
ling'ring here

Syph. But is it true, Sempronius, that your

senate

Is call'd together? Gods! thou must be cautious;
Cato has piercing eyes, and will discern
Our frauds, unless they're cover'd thick with art.
Sem. Let me alone, good Syphax, I'll conceal
My thoughts a passion ('tis the surest way);
I'll bellow out for Rome, and for my country,
And mouth at Caesar, till I shake the senate.
Your cold hypocrisy's a stale device,
A worn-out trick: wouldst thou be thought
in earnest,

Clothe thy feign'd zeal in rage, in fire, in fury!
Syph. In troth, thou'rt able to instruct grey
hairs,

On this important hour-I'll straight away,
And while the fathers of the senate meet
In close debate, to weigh th' events of war,
Fil animate the soldiers' drooping courage
With love of freedom, and contempt of life;
I'll thunder in their ears their country's cause,
And try to rouse up all that's Roman in them.
Tis not in mortals to command success,
But we'll do more, Sempronius; we'll deserve Meanwhile I'll hasten to my Roman soldiers,
[Exit. Inflame the mutiny, and, underhand,

it.

Sem. Curse on the stripling! how he apes
his sire!

Ambitiously sententious-But I wonder
Old Syphax comes not, his Numidian genius
Is well dispos'd to mischief, were he prompt
And eager on it; but he must be spurr'd,
And ev'ry moment quicken'd to the course.
Cato bas us'd me ill; he has refus'd
His daughter Marcia to my ardent vows.
Besides, his baffled arms and ruin'd cause,
Are bars to my ambition. Caesar's favour,
That show'rs down greatness on his friends,
will raise me

To Rome's first honours. If I give up Cato,
I claim, in my reward, his captive daughter.
But Syphax comes—

Enter SYPHAX.

Syph. Sempronius, all is ready;

I've sounded my Numidians, man by mau,
And find them ripe for a revolt: they all
Complain aloud of Cato's discipline,
And wait but the command to change their

master.

Sem. Believe me, Syphax, there's no time

to waste:

Es'n while we speak, our conqueror comes on,
And gathers ground upon us ev'ry moment.
Alas! thou know'st not Caesar's active soul,
With what a dreadful course he rushes on
From war to war. In vain has nature form'd

And teach the wily African deceit.
Sem. Once more he sure to try thy skill
on Juba.

Blow up their discontents, till they break out
Unlook'd for, and discharge themselves on Cato.
Remember, Syphax, we must work in haste;
Oh, think what anxious moments pass between
The birth of plots, and their last fatal periods!
Oh, 'tis a dreadful interval of time,
Fill'd up with horror all, and big with death!
Destruction hangs on ev'ry word we speak,
On every thought, till the concluding stroke
Determines all, and closes our design. [Exit.
Syph. I'll try if yet I can reduce to reason
This headstrong youth, and make him spurn
at Cato.

The time is short; Caesar comes rushing on
But hold! young

us

Juba sees me, and approaches!

Enter JUBA.

Juba. Syphax, I joy to meet thee thus alone. I have observ'd of late thy looks are fall'n, O'ercast with gloomy cares and discontent; Then tell me, Syphax, I conjure thee, tell me, What are the thoughts that knit thy brow in frowns,

And turn thine eye thus coldly on thy prince?
Syph. 'Tis not my talent to conceal my
thoughts,

Or carry smiles and sunshine in my face,
When discontent sits heavy at my heart;
I have not yet so much the Roman in me.
Juba. Why dost thou cast out such un-
gen'rous terms

Mountains and oceans to oppose his passage; Against the lords and sov'reigns of the world? Dost thou not see mankind fall down before

He bounds o'er all;

One day more

Will set the victor thund'ring at our gates.
But, tell me, hast thou yet drawn o'er young
Juba?

That still would recommend thee more to Caesar,
And challenge better terms.

Syph. Alas! he's lost!

He's lost, Sempronius; all his thoughts are full
Of Cato's virtues-But I'll try once more
(For ev'ry instant I expect him here),

If yet I can subdue those stubborn principles
Of faith and honour, and I know not what,
That have corrupted his Numidian temper,
And struck th' infection into all his soul.
Sem. Be sure to press upon him ev'ry motive.
Juba's surrender, since his father's death,
Would give up Afric into Caesar's hands,
And make him lord of half the burning zone.

them,

And own the force of their superior virtue?
Syph. Gods! where's the worth that sets
these people up

Above your own Numidia's tawny sons?
Do they with tougher sinews bend the bow?
Or flies the jav'lin swifter to its mark,
Launch'd from the vigour of a Roman arm?
Who like our active African instructs
The fiery steed, and trains him to his hand?
Or guides in troops th' embattled elephant
Laden with war? These, these are arts, my
prince,

In which your Zama does not stoop to Romic.
Juba. These all are virtues of a meaner rank:
Perfections that are plac'd in bones and nerves.
A Roman soul is bent on higher views.
To make man mild, and sociable to man;

To cultivate the wild, licentious savage, And break our fierce barbarians into men. Turn up thy eyes to Cato;

There may'st thou see to what a godlike height
The Roman virtues lift up mortal man.
While good, and just, and anxious for his friends,
He's still severely bent against Imself;
And when his fortune sets before him all
The pomps and pleasures that his soul can wish,
His rigid virtue will accept of none.

Syph. Believe me, prince, there's not an
African

That traverses our vast Numidian deserts
In quest of prey, and lives upon his bow,
But better practises those boasted virtues.
Coarse are his meals, the fortune of the chase;
Amidst the running stream he slakes his thirst;
Toils all the day, and at th' approach of night,
On the first friendly bank he throws him down,
Or rests his head upon a rock till morn;
Then rises fresh, pursues his wonted game;
And if the following day he chance to find
A new repast, or an untasted spring,
Blesses his stars, and thinks it luxury.

Juba. Thy prejudices, Syphax, won't discern What virtues grow from ignorance and choice, Nor how the hero differs from the brute. Where shall we find the man that bears af

fliction,

Great and majestic in his griefs, like Cato? How does he rise against a load of woes, And thank the gods that threw the weight upon him!

Syph. 'Tis pride, rank pride, and haughtiness of soul;

Juba. Alas! thy story melts away my soul! That best of fathers! how shall I discharge The gratitude and duty that I owe him? Syph. By laying up his counsels in your

Juba. His counsels bade me yield to thy direction.

Syph. Alas! my prince, I'd guide you to your safety.

Juba. I do believe thou wouldst; but tell me how.

Syph. Fly from the fate that follows Caesar's foes.

Juba. My father scorn'd to do it.
Syph. And therefore died.

Juba. Better to die ten thousand thousand deaths,

Than wound my honour.

Syph. Rather say your love.
Juba. Syphax, I've promis'd to preserve my
temper.

Why wilt thou urge me to confess a flame
I long have stifled, and would fain conceal?.
Syph. Believe me, prince, though hard to
conquer love,

'Tis easy to divert and break its force.
Absence might cure it, or a second mistress
Light up another flame, and put out this.
The glowing dames of Zama's royal court
Have faces flush'd with more exalted charms;
Were you with these, my prince, you'd soon
forget

The pale, unripen'd beauties of the north. Juba. 'Tis not a set of features, or complexion, The tincture of a skin, that I admire: I think the Romans call it stoicism. Beauty soon grows familiar to the lover, Had not your royal father thought so highly Fades in his eye, and palls upon the sense. Of Roman virtue, and of Cato's cause, The virtuous Marcia tow'rs above her sex: He had not fall'n by a slave's hand inglorious; True, she is fair, (oh, how divinely fair!) Nor would his slaughter'd armies now have lain But still the lovely maid improves her charms On Afric's sands, disfigur'd with their wounds, With inward greatness, unaffected wisdom, To gorge the wolves and vultures of Numidia. And sanctity of manners; Cato's soul Juba. Why dost thou call my sorrows up

afresh?

[blocks in formation]

Shines out in ev'ry thing she acts or speaks, While winning mildness and attractive smiles Dwell in her looks, and with becoming grace, Soften the rigour of her father's virtue.

Syph. How does your tongue grow wanton in her praise!

But, on my knees, I beg you would considerJuba. Ila! Syphax, is't not she?-She moves this way;

And with her Lucia, Lucius's fair daughter. My heart beats thick-I pr'ythee, Syphax, leave

me.

Syph. Ten thousand curses fasten on them both!

Now will the woman, with a single glance, Undo what I've been lab'ring all this while. [Exit.

Enter MARCIA and LUCIA. Juba. Hail, charming maid! how does thy beauty smooth

The face of war, and make ev'n horror smile!
At sight of thee my heart shakes off its sorrows;
I feel a dawn of joy break in upon me,
And for awhile forget th' approach of Caesar.
Marcia. I should be griev'd, young prince,
to think my presence
Unbent your thoughts, and slacken'd them

to arms,

The good old king, at parting, wrung my hand
(His eyes brimful of tears), then, sighing, cry'd,
Pr'ythee be careful of my son!-His grief While, warm with slaughter, our victorious foe
Swell'd up so high, he could not utter more. Threatens aloud, and calls you to the field.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Juba. Oh, Marcia, let me hope thy kind As if he mourn'd his rival's ill success;

concerns

And gentle wishes follow me to battle!
The thought will give new vigour to my arm,
And strength and weight to my descending
sword,

And drive it in a tempest on the foe.
Marcia. My pray'rs and wishes always shall
attend

The friends of Rome, the glorious cause of virtue,
And men approv'd of by the gods and Cato.
Juba. That Juba may deserve thy pious cares,
I'll gaze for ever on thy godlike father,
Transplanting, one by one, into my life,
His bright perfections, till I shine like him.
Marcia. My father never, at a time like this,
Would lay out his great soul in words, and waste
Such precious moments.

Juba. Thy reproofs are just,

Then bids me hide the motions of my heart,
Nor show which way it turns. So much he fears
The sad effect that it will have on Marcus.
Was ever virgin love distress'd like mine.
Marcia. Let us not, Lucia, aggravate our
sorrows,

But to the gods submit th' event of things.
Our lives, discolour'd with our present woes,
May still grow bright, and smile with happier
hours.

So the pure, limpid stream, when foul with

stains

Of rushing torrents, and descending rains,
Works itself clear, and, as it runs, refines,
Till, by degrees, the floating mirror shines,
Reflects each flow'r that on the border grows,
And a new 'heav'n in its fair bosom shows.
[Exeunt.

ACT II.

SCENE I.-The Senate-house.
Flourish. SEMPRONIUS, LUCIUS, and Sena-
tors discovered.

Sem. Rome still survives in this assembled
senate.

Thou virtuous maid; I'll hasten to my troops,
And fire their languid souls with Cato's virtue.
If e'er I lead them to the field, when all
The war shall stand rang'd in its just array,
And dreadful pomp, then will I think on thee.
Oh, lovely maid! then will I think on thee;
And in the shock of charging hosts, remember
What glorious deeds should grace the man, Let us remember we are Cato's friends,
And act like men who claim that glorious
title.
[Trumpets.
Luc. Hark! he comes.
Trumpets. Enter CATO, PORTIUS, and MARCUS.
Cato. Fathers, we once again are met in

who hopes

[Exit.

For Marcia's love.
Lucia. Marcia, you're too severe:
How could you chide the young, good-natur'd
prince,

And drive him from you with so stern an air;
A prince that loves, and dotes on you to death?
Marcia. How, Lucia! wouldst thou have me
sink away

In pleasing dreams, and lose myself in love,
When ev'ry moment Cato's life's at stake?
Lucia. Why have I not this constancy of
mind,

Who have so many griefs to try its force?
Sure, nature form'd me of her softest mould,
Enfeebled all my soul with tender passions,
And sunk me ev'n below my own weak sex:
Pity and love, by turns, oppress my heart.
Marcia. Lucia, disburden all thy cares on me,
And let me share thy most retir'd distress.
Tell me, who raises up this conflict in thee?
Lucia. I need not blush to name them,
when I tell thee

They're Marcia's brothers, and the sons of Cato.
Marcia. But tell me whose address thou fa-
vour'st most?

I long to know, and yet I dread to hear it.
Lucia. Suppose 'twere Portius, could you
blame my choice?-

Oh, Portius, thou hast stol'n away my soul!
Marcus is over warm; his fond complaints
Have so much earnestness and passion in them,
I hear him with a secret kind of horror,
And tremble at his vehemence of temper.
Marcia. Alas, poor youth!

How will thy coldness raise

council;

[blocks in formation]

Why should I mention Juba's overthrow,
And Scipio's death? Numidia's burning sands
Still smoke with blood. 'Tis time we should
decree

What course to take. Our foe advances on us,
And envies us ev'n Libya's sultry deserts.
Fathers, pronounce your thoughts: are they
still fix'd

To hold it out, and fight it to the last?
Or are your hearts subdu'd at length, and
wrought,

By time and ill success, to a submission?
Sempronius, speak.

Sem. My voice is still for war.
Gods! can a Roman senate long debate
Which of the two to choose, slav'ry or death?
No; let us rise at once, gird on our swords,
And, at the head of our remaining troops,
Attack the foe, break through the thick array
Of his throng'd legions, and charge home
upon him.

Perhaps some arm, more lucky than the rest,

Tempests and storms in his afflicted bosom! May reach his heart, and free the world

I dread the consequence.
Lucia. You seem to plead

Against your brother Portius.
Marcia. Lucia, no;

Had Portius been the unsuccessful lover,
The same compassion would have fall'n on him.
Lucia. Portius himself oft falls in tears be-

fore me,

from bondage.

Rise, fathers, rise! 'tis Rome demands your help;
Rise and revenge her slaughter'd citizens,
Or share their fate;-

To battle!

Great Pompey's shade complains that we are
slow;

And Scipio's ghost walks unreveng'd amongst us.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« 이전계속 »