« НазадПродовжити »
Decius, ambassador from Casar, САто, ,
WOMEN SEMPRONIUS,} senators.
MARCIA, daughter of Cato, JUBA, prince of Numidia,
Lucia, daughter of Lucius. Syphax, general of the Numidians.
Mutineers, Guards, &c.
Scene,- A hall in the governor's palace in Utica.
His horse's hoofs wet with patrician blood !
Oh, Portius! is there not some chosen curse, Enter Portius and MARCUS.
Some hidden thunder in the stores of Heaven, Por. The dawn is overcast, the morning lowers, Red with uncommon wrath, to blast the man, And heavily in clouds brings on the day; Who owes his greatness to his country's ruin? The great, the impoi tant day, big with the fate Por, Believe me, Marcus, 'tis an impious greats Of Cato and of Rome. Our father's death
ness, Would fill up all the guilt of civil war,
And mixed with too much horror to be envied; And close the scene of blood. Already Cæsar How does the lustre of our father's actions, Has ravaged more than half the globe, and sees Through the dark cloud of ills that cover him, Mankind grown thin by his destructive sword : Break out, and burn with more triumphant brightShould he go farther, numbers would be wanting To forin new battles, and support his crimes. His sufferings shine, and spread a glory round Ye gods, what havock does ambition make Among your works!
Greatly unfortunate, he fights the cause Marc. Thy steady temper, Portius,
Of honour, virtue, liberty, and Rome. Can look on guilt, rebellion, fraud, and Cæsar, His sword ne'er fell, but on the guilty head; In the calm lights of mild philosophy;
Oppression, tyranny, and power usurped, I'm tortured, even to madness, when I think Draw all the vengeance of his arm upon them. On the proud victor: every time he's named, Marc. Who knows not this! But what can Pharsalia rises to my view l-I see
Cato do The insulting tyrant prancing o'er the field, Against a world, a base, degenerate world, Strewed with Rome's citizens, and drenched in That courts the yoke, and bows the neck to Cą. slaughter,
Pent up in Utica, he vainly forms
Whene'er did Juba, or did Portius, shew A poor epitome of Roman greatness,
A virtue that has cast me at a distance, And, covered with Numidian guards, directs And thrown me out in the pursuits of honour? A feeble army, and an empty senate,
Por. Marcus, I know thy generous temper Remnants of mighty battles fought in vain.
well ; By Heaven, such virtue, joined with such suc- Fling but the appearance of dishonour on it, cess,
It straight takes fire, and mounts into a blaze. Distracts my very soul ! our father's fortune Marc. A brother's sufferings claim a brother's Would almost tempt us to renounce his precepts. pity. Por. Remember what our father oft has told Por. Heaven knows I pity thee! Behold my us :
eyes, The ways of Heaven are dark and intricate, Even whilst I speak-do they not swim in tears! Puzzled in mazes, and perplexed with errors; Were but my heart as naked to thy view, Our understanding traces them in vain,
Marcus would see it bleed in his behalf, Lost and bewildered in the fruitless search; Marc. Why then dost treat me with rebukes, Nor sees with how much art the windings run,
instead Nor where the regular confusion ends.
Of kind condoling cares, and friendly sorrow? Marc. These are suggestions of a mind at ease: Por. Oh, Marcus ! did I know the way to ease Oh, Portius, didst thou taste but half the griefs Thy troubled heart, and mitigate thy pains, That wring my soul, thou couldst not talk thus Marcus, believe me, I could die to do it. coldly.
Marc. Thou best of brothers, and thou best of Passion unpitied, and successless love,
friends! Plant daggers in my heart, and aggravate Pardon a weak distempered soul, that swells My other griefs. Were but my Lucia kind With sudden gusts, and sinks as soon in calms, Por. Thou seest not that thy brother is thy ri- The sport of passions. But Sempronius comes: val;
He must not find this softness hanging on me. But I must hide it, for I know thy temper.
[Erit Marc. [ Aside. Now, Marcus, now thy virtue's on the proof :
Enter SEMPRONIUS. Put forth thy utmost strength, work every nerve, Sem. Conspiracies no sooner should be formed And call up all thy father in thy soul:
Than executed. What means Portius here? To quell the tyrant, Love, and guard thy heart I like not that cold youth. I must dissemble, On this weak side, where most our nature fails, And speak a language foreign to my heart. (Aside. Would be a conquest worthy Cato's son. Good-morrow, Portius; let us once embrace, Marc. Portius, the counsel which I cannot Once more embrace, while yet we both are free.
To-morrow, should we thus express a friendship, Instead of healing, but upbraids my weakness. Each might receive a slave into his arms. Bid me for honour plunge into a war
This sun, perhaps, this morning's sun's the last, Of thickest foes, and rush on certain death, That e'er shall rise on Roman liberty. Then shalt thou see that Marcus is not slow Por. My father has this morning called toge To follow glory, and confess his father.
ther Love is not to be reasoned down, or lost To this poor hall, his little Roman senate, In high ambition or a thirst of greatness; (The leavings of Pharsalia) to consult 'Tis second life, it grows into the soul,
If he can yet oppose the mighty torrent Warms every vein, and beats in every pulse; That bears down Rome, and all her gods before it, I feel it here : my resolution melts
Or must at length give up the world to Cæsar. Por. Behold young Juba, the Numidian prince, Sem. Not all the pomp and majesty of Rome With how much care he forms himself to glory, Can raise her senate more than Cato's presence. And breaks the fierceness of his native temper, His virtues render our assembly awful; To copy out our father's bright example. They strike with something like religious fear, He loves our sister Marcia, greatly loves her; And make even Cæsar tremble at the head His eyes, his looks, his actions, all betray it; Of armies flushed with conquest. Oh, my PorBut still the smothered fondness burns within tius! him;
Could I but call that wondrous man my father, When most it swells, and labours for a vent, Would but thy sister Marcia be propitious The sense of honour, and desire of fame, To thy friend's vows, I might be blessed indeed! Drive the big passion back into his heart.
Por. Alas, Sempronius! wouldst thou talk of What! shall an African, shall Juba's heir
love Reproach great Cato's son, and shew the world To Marcia, whilst her father's life's in danger? A virtue, wanting in a Roman soul !
Thou mightst as well court the pale, trembling Marc. Portius, no more! your words leave vestal, stings behind them,
When she beholds the holy flame expiring.
Sem. The more I see the wonders of thy race, Of Cato's virtues—But I'll try once more The more I'm charmed. Thou must take heed, (For every instant I expect him here), my Portius;
If yet I can subdue those stubborn principles The world has all its eyes on Cato's son; Of faith and honour, and I know not what, Thy father's merit sets thee up to view, That have corrupted his Numidian temper, And shews in the fairest point of light,
And struck the infection into all his soul. To make thy virtues or thy faults conspicuous. Sem. Be sure to press upon him every motive. Por. Well dost thou seem to check my linger- Juba's surrender, since his father's death, ing here
Would give up Afric into Cæsar's hands, On this important hour--I'll straight away, And make himn lord of half the burning zone. And while the fathers of the senate meet Syph. But is it true, Sempronius, that your seIn close debate, to weigh the event of war, I'll animate the soldiers' drooping courage Is called together? Gods! thou must be cautious; With love of freedom, and contempt of life; Cato has piercing eyes, and will discern I'll thunder in their ears their country's cause, Our frauds, unless they're covered thick with And try to rouse up all that's Roman in them.
art. Tis not in mortals to comınand success,
Sem. Let me alone, good Syphax; I'll conceal But we'll do more, Sempronius; we'll deserve it. My thoughts in passion ('tis the surest way);
[Exit. I'll bellow out for Rome, and for my country, Sem. Curse on the stripling! how he apes his And mouth at Cæsar, till I shake the senate. sire !
Your cold hypocrisy’s a stale device, Ambitiously sententious—But I wonder A worn-out trick; wouldst thou be thought in Old Syphax comes not; his Numidian genius
earnest, Is well disposed to mischief, were he prompt Clothe thy feigned zeal in rage, in fire, in fury! And eager on it; but he must be spurred, Syph. In troth, thou'rt able to instruct grey And every moment quickened to the course.
hairs, Cato has used me ill : he has refused
And teach the wily African deceit. His daughter Marcia to my ardent vows.
Sem. Once more be sure to try thy skill on Besides, his baffled arms, and ruined cause,
Juba. Are bars to my ambition. Cæsar's favour, Meanwhile I'll hasten to my Roman soldiers, That showers down blessings on his friends, will Inflame the mutiny, and underhand raise me
Blow up their discontent, till they break out To Rome's first honours. If I give up Cato, Unlooked for, and discharge themselves on Cato, I claim, as my reward, his captive daughter. Remember, Syphax, we must work in haste : But Syphax comes
Oh! think what anxious moments pass between
The birth of plots, and their last fatal periods ! Enter SyphAX.
Oh ! 'tis a dreadful interval of time, Syph. Sempronius, all is ready;
Filled up with horror all, and big with death! I've sounded my Numidians, man by man, Destruction hangs on every word we speak, And find them ripe for a revolt: they all On every thought, till the concluding stroke Complain aloud of Cato's discipline,
Determines all, and closes our design. [Erit. And wait but the command to change their mas- Syph. I'll try if yet I can reduce to reason
This headstrong youth, and make him spurn at Sem. Believe me, Syphax, there's no time to Cato. waste;
The time is short; Cæsar comes rushing on us Even while we speak our conqueror comes on, But hold ! young Juba sees me, and approaches. And gathers ground upon us every moment.
Enter JUBA. Alas! though know'st not Cæsar's active soul, With what a dreadful course he rushes on Juba. Syphax, I joy to meet thee thus alone. From war to war. In vain has nature formed I have observed of late thy looks are fallen, Mountains and oceans to oppose his passage; O'ercast with gloomy cares and discontent : He bounds o'er all; victorious in his march, Then tell me, Syphax, I conjure thee, tell me, The Alps and Pyreneans sink before him : What are the thoughts that knit thy brow in Through winds, and waves, and storms, he works frowns,
And turn thine eye thus coldly on thy prince? Impatient for the battle; one day more
Syph. 'Tis not my talent to conceal iny thoughts, Will see the victor thundering at our gates. carry smiles and sunshine in my face, But, tell me, hast thou yet drawn o'er young Juba? When discontent sits heavy at my heart; That still would recommend thee more to Cæsar, I have not yet so much the Roman in me. And challenge better terms.
Juba. Why dost thou cast out such ungenerous Syph. Alas, he's lost !
terms He's lost, Sempronius; all his thoughts are full Against the lords and sovereigns of the world?
Dost thou not see mankind fall down before And if the following day he chance to find them,
A new repast, or an untasted spring, And own the force of their superior virtue ? Blesses his stars, and thinks it luxury. Is there a nation in the wilds of Afric,
Juba. Thy prejudices, Syphax, wont discern Amidst our barren rocks, and burning sands, What virtues grow from ignorance and choice, That does not tremble at the Roman name? Nor how the hero differs froin the brute. Sypk. Gods! where's the worth that sets these But grant that others couid, with equal glory, people up
Look down on pleasures, and the baits of sense, Above our own Numidia's tawny sons?
Where shall we find the man that bears afllicDo they, with tougher sinews, bend the bow?
tion, Or flies the javelin swifter to its mark,
Great and majestic in his griefs, like Cato? Launched from the vigour of a Roman arm? Heavens! with what strength, what steadiness of Who, like our active African, instructs
mind, The fiery steed, and trains him to his hand ? He triumphs in the midst of all his sufferings ! Or guides, in troops, the embattled elephant, How does he rise against a load of woes, Laden with war? These, these, are arts, my | And thank the gods that throw the weight upon prince,
him ! In which your Zama does not stoop to Rome. Syph. 'Tis pride, rank pride, and haughtiness Juba. These all are virtues of a meaner rank;
of soul; Perfections that are placed in bones and nerves. I think the Romans call it stvicism. A Roman soul is bent on higher views :
Had not your royal father thought so highly To civilize the rude, unpolished world,
Of Roman virtue, and of Cato's cause, And lay it under the restraint of laws;
He had not fallen by a slave's hand inglorious : To make man mild, and sociable to man; Nor would his slaughtered army now have lain To cultivate the wild, licentious savage,
On Afric's sands distigured with their wounds, With wisdom, discipline, and liberal arts; To gorge the wolves and vultures of Numidia. The embellishments of life: virtues like these Juba. Why dost thou call my sorrows up afresh? Make human nature shine, reform the soul, My father's name brings tears into my eyes. And break our fierce barbarians into men.
Syph. Oh, that you would profit by your fa Syph. Patience, kind Heaven !-excuse an old ther's ills! man's warmth :
Juba. What wouldst thou have me do? What are those wondrous civilizing arts,
Syph. Abandon Cato. This Roman polish, and this smooth behaviour, Juba. Syphax, I should be more than twice an That renders man thus tractable and tame?
orphan Are they not only to disguise our passions, By such a loss. To set our looks at variance with our thoughts, Syph. Aye, there's the tie that binds you! To check the starts and sallies of the soul, You long to call him father. Marcia's charms And break of all its commerce with the tongue? | Work in your heart unseen), and plead for Cato. In short, to change us into other creatures, No wonder you are deaf to all I say. Than what our nature and the gods designed us? Juba. Syphax, your zeal becomes importunate; Juba. To strike thee dumb-turn up thy eyes I have hitherto permitted it to rave, to Cato!
And talk at large; but learn to keep it in, There may'st thou see to what a god-like height Lest it should take more freedom than I will give The Roman virtues lift up mortal man.
it. While good, and just, and anxious for his friends, Syph. Sir, your great father never used me He's still severely bent against himself;
thus. Renouncing sleep, and rest, and food, and ease, Alas, he is dead! but can you e'er forget He strives with thirst and hunger, tvil and heat; The tender sorrows, and the pangs of nature, And, when his fortune sets before him all The fond embraces, and repeated blessings, The pomps and pleasures that his soul can wish, Which you drew from him in your last farewell? His rigid virtue will accept of none.
Still must I cherish the dear, sad remembrance, Syph. Believe me, prince, there's not an Afri- At once to torture and to please my soul. can,
The good old king at parting wrung my hand, That traverses our vast Numidian desarts
(His eyes brim-full of tears) then sighing, cried, In quest of prey, and lives upon his bow, Pr’ythee be careful of my son! His grief But better practises those boasted virtues. Swelled up so high, he could not utter more, Coarse are his meals, the fortune of the chace; Juba. Alas! thy story me'ts away my soul; Amidst the running stream he slakes his thirst; That best of fathers ! how shall I discharge Toils all the day, and, at the approach of night, The gratitude and duty which I owe bim! . On the first friendly bank he throws hin down, Syph. By laving up his counsels in your heart. Or rests his head upon a rock till morn;
Juba. His counsels bade me vield to thy diThen rises fresh, pursues his wonted game,
Then, Syphax, chide me in severest terms; The face of war, and make even horror smile !
I feel a dawn of joy break in upon me,
think my presence
arms, Syph. Fly from the fate that follows Cæsar's While, warm with slaughter, our victorious foe foes!
Threatens aloud, and calls you to the field.
Juba. Oh, Marcia, let me hope thy kind con-
The thought will give new vigour to my arm,
Add strength and weight to my descending Syph. Rather say your love.
sword, Juba. Syphax, I have promised to preserve my And drive it in a tempest on the foe. temper.
Mar. My prayers and wishes always shall atWhy wilt thou urge me to confess a flame,
tend I long have stifled, and would fain conceal? The friends of Rome, the glorious cause of virSyph. Believe me, prince, though hard to con- tue, quer love,
And men approved of by the gods and Cato. 'Tis easy to divert and break its force.
Juba. That Juba may deserve thy pious cares,
Juba. Thy reproofs are just,
Juba. 'Tis not a set of features, or complexion, And fire their languid souls with Cato's virtue.
If e'er I lead them to the field, when all
hopes And sanctity of manners; Cato's soul
For Marcia's love.
prince, Soften the rigour of her father's virtue.
And drive him from you with so stern an air? Syph. How does your tongue grow wanton in A prince, that loves and doats on you to death? her praise !
Mar. 'Tis therefore, Lucia, that I chid him But on my knees I beg you would consider
Speak all so movingly in his behalf,
Mar. How, Lucia! wouldst thou have me sink Now will the woman, with a single glance,
away Undo what I have been labouring all this while. In pleasing dreams, and lose myself in love,
[Exit Syphar. When every moment Cato's life's at stake?
Cæsar comes armed with terror and revenge,
And aims his thunder at my father's head. Juba. Hail, charming maid! How does thy should not the sad occasion swallow up beauty smooth
My other cares, and draw them all into it? 2