페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

ness,

If Rome must fall, that we are innocent.
Cato. Let us appear nor rash nor diffident;
Immod'rate valour swells into a fault;
And fear, admitted into public councils,
Betrays like treason. Let us shun them both.
Fathers, I cannot see that our affairs
Are grown thus desp'rate: we have bulwarks
round us;

Within our walls are troops inur'd to toil
In Afric's heat, and season'd to the sun;
Numidia's spacious kingdom lies behind us,
Ready to rise at its young prince's call.
While there is hope, do not distrust the gods;
But wait at least till Caesar's near approach
Force us to yield. Twill never be too late
To sue for chains, and own a conqueror.
Why should Rome fall a moment ere her
time?

No, let us draw her term of freedom out
In its full length, and spin it to the last,
So shall we gain still one day's liberty:
Ant let me perish, but, in Cato's judgment,
A day, an hour, of virtuous liberty,
Is worth a whole eternity in bondage.
Enter JUNIUS.

Jun. Fathers, e'en now a herald is arriv'd From Caesar's camp, and with him comes old Decius,

Disdains a life which he has power to offer.
Dec. Rome and her senators submit to Caesar;
Her gen'rals and her consuls are no more,
Who check'd his conquests, and deny'd his
triumphs.

Why will not Cato be this Caesar's friend?
Cato. These very reasons thou hast urg'd
forbid it.

Dec. Caesar is well acquainted with your
virtues,

And therefore sets this value on your life.
Let him but know the price of Cato's friendship,
And name your terms.

Cato. Bid him disband his legions,
Restore the commonwealth to liberty,
Submit his actions to the public censure,
And stand the judgment of a Roman senate.
Bid him do this, and Cato is his friend.
Dec. Cato, the world talks loudly of your
wisdom-

Cato. Nay, more; though Cato's voice was
ne'er employ'd

To clear the guilty, and to varnish crimes,
Myself will mount the rostrum in his favour,
And strive to gain his pardon from the people.
Dec. A style like this becomes a conqueror.
Cato. Decius, a style like this becomes a

Roman.

Dec. What is a Roman, that is Caesar's foc?
Cato. Greater than Caesar: he's a friend to
virtue.

Dec. Consider, Cato, you're in Utica,
And at the head of your own little senate:
You don't now thunder in the capitol,
With all the mouths of Rome to second you.
Cato. Let him consider that, who drives us

hither.

'Tis Caesar's sword has made Rome's senate little, And thinn'd its ranks. Alas! thy dazzled eye Beholds this man in a false, glaring light, Which conquest and success have thrown upon him;

Didst thou but view him right, thou'dst see him black

With murder, treason, sacrilege, and crimes,
That strike my soul with horror but to name
them.

Beset with ills, and cover'd with misfortunes;
But, by the gods I swear, millions of worlds
Should never buy me to be like that Caesar.
Dec. Does Cato send this answer back to

I know thou look'st on me as on a wretch

Caesar,

The Roman knight: he carries in his looks
Impatience, and demands to speak with Cato.
Cato. By your permission, fathers-bid him For all his gen'rous cares and proffer'd friend-
[Exit Junius.
Decius was once my friend, but other
Have loos'd those ties, and bound him fast to

enter.

Caesar.

prospects

His message may determine our resolves.

Enter DECIUS.

Dec. Caesar sends health to Cato-
Cato. Could he send it
To Cato's slaughter'd friends, it would be wel-

come.

Are not your orders to address the senate?
Dec. My business is with Cato; Caesar sees
The straits to which you're driv'n; and, as he
knows

Cato's high worth, is anxious for your life.
Cato. My life is grafted on the fate of Rome.
Would he save Cato, bid him spare his country.
Tell your dictator this; and tell him, Cato

ship?

Cato. His cares for me are insolent and vain:

Presumptuous man! the gods take care of Cato.
Would Caesar show the greatness of his soul,
Bid him employ his care for these my friends,
And make good use of his ill-gotten pow'r,
By shelt'ring men much better than himself.
Dec. Your high, unconquer'd heart makes
you forget

You are a man. You rush on your destruction.
But I have done. When I relate hereafter
The tale of this unhappy embassy,
All Rome will be in tears. [Exit, attended.
Sem. Cato, we thank thee.
The mighty genius of immortal Rome
Speaks in thy voice; thy soul breathes liberty.
Caesar will shrink to hear the words thou utter'st,
And shudder in the midst of all his conquests.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Luc. The senate owns its gratitude to Cato, Kings far remote, that rule, as fame reports Who with so great a soul consults its safety, Behind the hidden sources of the Nile, And guards our lives, while he neglects his own. In distant worlds, on t'other side the sun; Sem. Sempronius gives no thanks on this Oft have their black ambassadors appear'd,

account.

Loaden with gifts, and fill'd the courts of Zama. Cato. I am no stranger to thy father's great

ness.

Juba. I do not mean to boast his power and greatness,

Lucius seems fond of life; but what is life?
Tis not to stalk about, and draw fresh air
From time to time, or gaze upon the sun;
'Tis to be free. When liberty is gone,
Life grows insipid, and has lost its relish. But point out new alliances to Cato.
Oh, could my dying hand but lodge a sword Had we not better leave this Utica,
In Caesar's bosom, and revenge my country, To arm Numidia in our cause, and court
By heav'n, I could enjoy the pangs of death,
And smile in agony!

Luc. Others perhaps

May serve their country with as warm a zeal, Though 'tis not kindled into so much rage. Sem. This sober conduct is a mighty virtue In lukewarm patriots.

Cato. Come, no more, Sempronius ; All here are friends to Rome, and to each other. Let us not weaken still the weaker side By our divisions.

Sem. Cato, my resentments Are sacrific'd to Rome-I stand reprov'd. Cato. Fathers, 'tis time you come to a resolve. Luc. Cato, we all go into your opinion: Caesar's behaviour has convinc'd the senate, We ought to hold it out till terms arrive. Sem. We ought to hold it out till death; but, Cato,

Th' assistance of my father's powerful friends?
Did they know Cato, our remotest kings
Would pour embattled multitudes about him;
Their swarthy hosts would darken all our plains,
Doubling the native horror of the war,
And making death more grim.

Cato. And canst thou think
Cato will fly before the sword of Caesar!
Reduc'd, like Hannibal, to seek relief
From court to court, and wander
A vagabond in Afric?

Juba. Cato, perhaps

up

and down

I'm too officious; but my forward cares
Would fain preserve a life of so much value.
My heart is wounded, when I see such virtue
Afflicted by the weight of such misfortunes.

Cato. Thy nobleness of soul obliges me.
But know, young prince, that valour soars above
What the world calls misfortune and affliction.
These are not ills; else would they never fall
and On heav'n's first fav'rites, and the best of men.
The gods, in bounty, work up storms about us,
That give mankind occasion to exert
Their hidden strength, and throw out into
practice

My private voice is drown'd amidst the senate's.
Cato. Then let us rise, my friends,
strive to fill

This little interval, this pause of life
(While yet our liberty and fates are doubtful)
With resolution, friendship, Roman bravery,
And all the virtues we can crowd into it;
That heav'n may say, it ought to be prolong'd.
Fathers, farewell-The young Numidian prince
Comes forward, and expects to know our coun-
sels. [Exeunt Senators.
Enter JUBA.

Juba, the Roman senate has resolv'd,
Till time give better prospects, still to keep
The sword unsheath'd, and turn its edge on
Caesar.

Juba. The resolution fits a Roman senate. But, Cato, lend me for awhile thy patience, And condescend to hear a young man speak. My father, when, some days before his death, He order'd me to march for Utica,

(Alas! I thought not then his death so near!)
Wept o'er me, press'd me in his aged arms;
And, as his griefs gave way, My son, said he,
Whatever fortune shall befall thy father,
Be Cato's friend; he'll train thee up to great
And virtuous deeds; do but observe him well,
Thou'lt shun misfortunes, or thou'lt learn to
bear them.

Cato. Juba, thy father was a worthy prince, And merited, alas! a better fate;

But heav'n thought otherwise.

Juba. My father's fate,

Virtues which shun the day, and lie conceal'd In the smooth seasons and the calms of life. Juba. I'm charm'd whene'er thou talk'st; I pant for virtue;

And all my soul endeavours at perfection. Cato. Dost thou love watchings, abstinence, and toil,

Laborious virtues all? Learn them from Cato: Success and fortune must thou learn from Caesar.

Juba. The best good fortune that can fall on Juba, The whole success at which my heart aspires, Depends on Cato.

Cato. What does Juba say? Thy words confound me.

Juba. I would fain retract them.
Give them me back again: they aim'd at nothing.
Cato. Tell me thy wish, young prince; make
not my ear

A stranger to thy thoughts.
Juba. Oh! they're extravagant;
Still let me hide them.

Calo. What can Juba ask,
That Cato will refuse?

Juba. I fear to name it.

Marcia-inherits all her father's virtues.

Cato. What wouldst thou say?

Juba. Cato, thou hast a daughter.

Cato. Adieu, young prince; I would not hear a word

Should lessen thee in my esteem.

Remember

In spite of all the fortitude that shines
Before my face in Cato's great example,
Subdues my soul, and fills my eyes with tears.
Cato. It is an honest sorrow, and becomes thee.
Juba. His virtues drew respect from foreign The hand of fate is over us, and heav'n
Exacts severity from all our thoughts.
The kings of Afric sought him for their friend; [It is not now a time to talk of aught

climes :

[blocks in formation]

Syph. How's this, my prince? What, cover'd with confusion?

You look as if yon stern philosopher

Had just now chid you.

Juba. Syphax, I'm undone!

Syph. I know it well.

Juba. Cato thinks meanly of me.
Syph. And so will all mankind.
Juba. I've open'd to him

The weakness of my soul, my love for Marcia.
Syph. Cato's a proper person to intrust
A love tale with!

Juba. Oh, I could pierce my heart,
My foolish heart!

Syph. Alas, my prince, how are you chang'd of late!

I've known young Juba rise before the sun,
To beat the thicket, where the tiger slept,
Or seek the lion in his dreadful haunts.
I've seen you,

Ev'n in the Libyan dog-days, hunt him down,
Then charge him close,

And, stooping from your horse,

Rivet the panting savage to the ground.
Juba. Pr'ythee, no more.

Syph. How would the old king smile,

To see you weigh the paws, when tipp'd with

gold,

[blocks in formation]

Throw down the merit of my better years? This the reward of a whole life of service! Curse on the boy! how steadily he hears me! [Aside. Juba. Is it because the throne of my forefathers

Still stands unfill'd, and that Numidia's crown Hangs doubtful yet whose head it shall enclose, Thou thus presum'st to treat thy prince with

scorn?

Syph. Why will you rive my heart with such expressions?

Does not old Syphax follow you to war!

And throw the shaggy spoils about your shoul-What are his aims? to shed the slow remains,

ders!

Juba. Syphax, this old man's talk, though honey flow'd

In ev'ry word, would now lose all its sweetness. Cato's displeas'd, and Marcia lost for ever. Syph. Young prince, I yet could give you good advice;

Marcia might still be yours.

Juba. As how, dear Syphax?
Syph. Juba commands Numidia's hardy
troops,

Mounted on steeds unus'd to the restraint
Of curbs or bits, and fleeter than the winds:
Give but the word, we snatch this damsel up,
And hear her off.

Juba. Can such dishonest thoughts
Rise up in man! Wouldst thou seduce my youth
To do an act that would destroy mine honour?
Syph. Gods, I could tear my hair to hear
you talk!

Honour's a fine imaginary notion,
That draws in raw and inexperienc'd men
To real mischiefs, while they hunt a shadow.
Juba. Wouldst thou degrade thy prince

into a ruffian?

Syph. The boasted ancestors of these great

men,

Whose virtues you admire, were all such ruffians.

This dread of nations, this almighty Rome, That comprehends in her wide empire's bounds All under heav'n, was founded on a rape; Your Scipios, Caesars, Pompeys, and your Catos (The gods on earth), are all the spurious blood Of violated maids, of ravish'd Sabines.

Juba. Syphax, I fear that hoary head of thine Abounds too much in our Numidian wiles. Syph. Indeed, my prince, you want to know the world.

His last poor ebb of blood in your defence? Juba. Syphax, no more! I would not hear

you talk.

Syph. Not hear me talk! what, when my faith to Juba,

My royal master's son, is call'd in question?
My prince may strike me dead, and I'll be dumb;
But whilst I five I must not hold my tongue,
And languish out old age in his displeasure.
Juba. Thou know'st the way too well into
my heart.

I do believe thee loyal to thy prince.
Syph. What greater instance can I give?
I've offer'd

To do an action which my soul abhors,
And gain you whom you love, at any price.
Juba. Was this thy motive? I have been
too hasty.

Syph. And 'tis for this my prince has call'd me traitor.

Juba. Sure thou mistak'st; I did not call thee so.

Syph. You did indeed, my prince, you call'd

me traitor.

Nay, further, threaten'd you'd complain to Cato. Of what, my prince, would you complain to Cato?

That Syphax loves you, and would sacrifice His life, nay more, his honour, in your service?

Juba. Syphax, I know thou lov'st me; but indeed

Thy zeal for Juba carried thee too far.
Honour's a sacred tic, the law of kings,
The noble mind's distinguishing perfection,
That aids and strengthens virtue where it meets
her,

And imitates her actions where she is not:
It ought not to be sported with.

phax weep

Syph. Believe me, prince, you make old Sy-Unusual fastings, and will bear no more
Th's medley of philosophy and war.
Within an hour they'll storm the senate-house.
Syph. Meanwhile I'll draw up my Numi-
dian troops

To hear you talk-but 'tis with tears of joy.
If e'er your father's crown adorn your brows,
Numidia will be blest by Cato's lectures.
Juba. Syphax, thy hand; we'll mutually forget Within the square, to exercise their arms,
The warmth of youth, and frowardness of age: And, as I see occasion, favour thee.
Thy prince esteems thy worth, and loves thy I laugh to see how your unshaken Cato
Will look aghast, while unforeseen destruction
Pours in upon him thus from every side.

person.

If e'er the sceptre come into my hand, Syphax shall stand the second in my kingdom. Syph. Why will you o'erwhelm my age

with kindness?

|

So, where our wide Numidian wastes extend, Sudden th' impetuous hurricanes descend, My joys grow burdensome, I shan't support it. Wheel through th' air, in circling eddies Juba. Syphax, farewell. I'll hence, and try Tear up the sands, and sweep whole plains

to find

away.

play,

Some blest occasion, that may set me right The helpless traveller, with wild surprise, In Cato's thoughts. I'd rather have that man Sees the dry desert all around him rise, Approve my deeds, than worlds for my admir-And, smother'd in the dusty whirlwind, dies.

ers.

[Exit.

[blocks in formation]

Lucius declar'd for peace, and terms were of fer'd

To Cato, by a messenger from Caesar.
Syph. But how stands Cato?

Sem. Thou hast seen mount Atlas:

Whilst storms and tempets thunder on its brows,
And oceans break their billows at its feet,
It stands unmov'd, and glories in its height:
Such is that haughty man; his tow'ring soul,
'Midst all the shocks and injuries of fortune,
Rises superior, and looks down on Caesar.
Syph. But what's this messenger?
Sem. I've practis'd with him,
And found a means to let the victor know,
That Syphax and Sempronius are his friends.
But let me now examine in my turn;
Is Juba fix'd?

Syph. Yes-but it is to Cato.
I've tried the force of ev'ry reason on him,
Sooth'd and caress'd; been angry, sooth'd again;
Laid safety, life, and interest in his sight;
But all are vain, he scorns them all for Cato.
Sem. Well, 'tis no matter; we shall do
without him.

Syphax, I now may hope, thou hast forsook
Thy Juba's cause, and wishest Marcia mine.
Syph. May she be thine as fast as thou
wouldst have her.

But are thy troops prepar'd for a revolt?
Does the sedition catch from man to man,
And run among the ranks?
Sem. All, all is ready;

ACT III.

SCENE I.-The Palace.

}

[Exeunt.

[blocks in formation]

The wilds of life, ere I could find a friend;
Nature first pointed out my Portius to me,
And early taught me, by her secret force,
To love thy person, ere I knew thy merit,
Till what was instinct, grew up into friendship.
Pór. Marcus, the friendships of the world
are oft

Ours has severest virtue for its basis,
Confed'racies in vice, or leagues of pleasure;
And such a friendship ends not but with life.
Marc. Portius, thou know'st my soul in all

its weakness;

Then, pr'ythee, spare me on its tender side; Indulge me but in love, my other passions Shall rise and fall by virtue's nicest rules.

Por. When love's well tim'd, 'tis not a fault to love.

The strong, the brave, the virtuous, and the wise Sink in the soft captivity together.

Marc. Alas, thou talk'st like one that never felt.

Th' impatient throbs and longings of a soul,
That pants and reaches after distant good!
A lover does not live by vulgar time:
Believe me, Portius, in my Lucia's absence
Life hangs upon me, and becomes a burden;
And yet, when I behold the charming maid,
I'm ten times more undone; while hope, and
fear,

And grief, and rage, and love, rise up at once,
And with variety of pain distract me.

Por. What can thy Portius do to give thee help?

Marc. Portius, thou oft enjoy'st the fair one's presence;

Then undertake my cause, and plead it to her With all the strength and heat of eloquence Fraternal love and friendship can inspire. Tell her thy brother languishes to death, And fades away, and withers in his bloom; That he forgets his sleep, and loathes his food, The factious leaders are our friends, that spread That youth, and health, and war, are joyless Murmurs and discontents among the soldiers; They count their toilsome marches, long fa-Describe his anxious days, and restless nights tigues, And all the torments that thou see'st me suffer

to him;

Por. Marcus, I beg thee give me not an office

That suits with me so ill. Thou know'st my temper.

Marc. Wilt thou behold me sinking in my

woes,

Lucia. Has not the vow already pass'd my lips?

The gods have heard it, and 'tis seal'd in heav'n. May all the vengeance that was ever pour'd On perjur'd heads o'erwhelm me if I break it! Por. Fix'd in astonishment, I gaze upon thee, And wilt thou not reach out a friendly arm, Like one just blasted by a stroke from heav'n, To raise me from amidst this plunge of sorrows? Who pants for breath, and stiffens, yet alive, Por. Marcus, thou canst not ask what I'd In dreadful looks; a monument of wrath! Lucia. Think, Portius, think thou see'st thy

refuse;

dying brother

But here, believe me, I've a thousand reasons
Marc. I know thou'lt say my passion's out Stabb'd at his heart, and all besmear'd with

of season,

That Cato's great example and misfortunes Should both conspire to drive it from my thoughts.

But what's all this to one that loves like me? O Portius, Portius, from my soul I wish Thou didst but know thyself what 'tis to love! Then wouldst thou pity and assist thy brother. Por. What should I do? If I disclose my

passion,

blood,

Storming at heav'n and thee! Thy awful sire Sternly demands the cause, th' accursed cause That robs him of his son:-farewell, my Portius! Farewell, though death is in the word-for ever! Por. Thou must not go my soul still hovers o'er thee,

And can't get loose.

Lucia. If the firm Portius shake To hear of parting, think what Lucia suffers! Por. 'Tis true, unruffled and serene, I've met

Our friendship's at an end; if I conceal it,
The world will call me false to friend and The common accidents of life; but here
Such an unlook'd-for storm of ills falls on me,
It beats down all my strength, I cannot bear it.
We must not part.

brother. [Aside. Marc. But see, where Lucia, at her wonted hour,

Amid the cool of yon high marble arch, Enjoys the noon-day breeze! Observe her, Portius;

That face, that shape, those eyes, that heav'n of beauty!

Observe her well, and blame me if thou canst.
Por. She sees us, and advances-
Marc. I'll withdraw,

And leave you for awhile. Remember, Portius,
Thy brother's life depends upon thy tongue.
[Exit.

Enter LUCIA.

Lucia. Did not I see your brother Marcus here? Why did he fly the place, and shun my presence? Por. Oh, Lucia, language is too faint to show His rage of love; it preys upon his life; He pines, he sickens, he despairs, he dies! Lucia. How wilt thou guard thy honour,

in the shock

Of love and friendship? Think betimes, my Portius,

Think how the nuptial tie, that might ensure Our mutual bliss, would raise to such a height Thy brother's griefs, as might perhaps destroy him.

Por. Alas, poor youth! What dost thou think, my Lucia?

His gen'rous, open, undesigning heart
Has begg'd his rival to solicit for him!
Then do not strike him dead with a denial.
Lucia. No, Portius, no; I see thy sister's
tears,

Thy father's anguish, and thy brother's death,
In the pursuit of our ill-fated loves:
And, Portius, here I swear, to heav'n I swear,
To heav'n, and all the powers that judge
mankind,

Never to mix my plighted hands with thine,
While such a cloud of mischief hangs upon us;
But to forget our loves, and drive thee out
From all my thoughts-as far as I am able.
Por. What hast thou said?-I'm thunder-
struck-recall

Those hasty words, or I am lost for ever.

Lucia. What dost thou say? Not part! Hast thou forgot the vow that I have made? Are not there heavens, and gods, that thunder o'er us?

But sec, thy brother Marcus bends this way; I sicken at the sight. Once more, farewell, Farewell, and know thou wrong'st me, if thou think'st,

[ocr errors]

Ever was love, or ever grief, like mine.

Enter MARCUS.

[Exit.

Marc. Portius, what hopes? How stands she? am I doom'd

To life or death?

Por. What wouldst thou have me say? Marc. Thy downcast looks, and thy disorder'd thoughts,

Tell me my fate. I ask not the success
My cause has found.

Por. I'm griev'd I undertook it.
Marc. What, does the barbarous maid in-
sult my heart,

My aching heart, and triumph in my pains? Por. Away, you're too suspicious in your griefs;

Lucia, though sworn never to think of love, Compassionates your pains, and pities you. Marc. Compassionates my pains, and pities

me!

What is compassion when 'tis void of love?
Fool that I was to choose so cold a friend
To urge my cause!-Compassionates my pains!
Pr'ythee what art, what rhet'ric didst thou use
To gain this mighty boon?-She pities me!
To one that asks the warm returns of love,
Compassion's cruelty, 'tis scorn, 'tis death
Por. Marcus, no more; have I deserv'd this
treatment?

Marc. What have I said? Oh, Portius, oh forgive me!

A soul, exasperate in ills, falls out With every thing-its friend, itself-but, hah! [Shouts and Trumpets. What means that shout, big with the sounds of war?

« 이전계속 »