Зображення сторінки


Cato. Has Cæsar shed more Roman blood?

Por. Not so.
The traitor Syphax, as within the square

Por. Misfortune on misfortune! grief on grief!
He exercised his troops, the signal given, My brother Marcus-
Flew off at once, with his Numidian horse,

Cato. Ha! what has he done? To the south gate, where Marcus holds the flas he forsook his post? Has he given way? watch;

Did he look tamely on, and let them pass? I saw, and called to stop him, but in vain :

Por. Scarce had I left my father, but I met He tossed his arm aloft, and proudly told me,

hiin He would not stay and perish like Sempronius. Borne on the shields of his surviving soldiers, Cato. Perfidious man! But haste, my son, and Breathless and pale, and covered o’er with wounds.

Long, at the head of his few faithful friends, Thy brother Marcus acts a Roman's part. He stood the shock of a whole host of foes;

[Erit Por. Till, obstinately brave, and bent on death, -Lucius, the torrent bears too hard upon me: Oppressed with multitudes, he greatly tell. . Justice gives way to force : the conquered world Cato. I am satisfied. Is Cæsar's! Cato has no business in it.

Por. Nor did he fall before Luc. While pride, oppression, and injustice His sword had pierced through the false heart of reign,

The world will still demand her Cato's presence. Yonder he lies. I saw the hoary traitor
In pity to mankind submit to Cæsar,

Grin in the pangs of death, and bite the ground, And reconcile thy inighty soul to life!

Cato. Thanks to the gods, my boy has done his Cato. Would Lucius have me live to swell the

duty ! number

- Portius, when I am dead, be sure you place Of Cæsar's slaves, or, by a base submission, Ilis urn near mine. Give up the cause of Rome, and own a ty- Por. Long may they keep asunder! rant?

Luc. Oh, Cato, arm thy soul with all its paLuc. The victor never will impose on Cato

tience; Ungenerous terms. His enemies confess See where the corpse of thy dead son approaches! The virtues of humanity are Cæsar's.

The citizens and senators, alarmed, Cato. Curse on his virtues! they have undone Have gathered round it, and attend it weeping.

his country. Such popular humanity is treason

Cato, meeting the corpse. But see young Juba; the good youth appears, Cato. Welcome, my son! Here lay him down, Full of the guilt of his perfidious subjects !

my friends, Luc. Alas, poor prince ! his fate deserves com- Full in my sight, that I may view at leisure passion.

The bloody corse, and count those glorious

wounds. Enter JUBA.

- How beautiful is death, when earned by rirJuba. I blush, and am confounded to appear

tue ! Before thy presence, Cato.

Who would not be that youth? What pity is it Cato. What's thy crime?

That we can die but once to serve our country! Juba. I am a Numidian.

-Why sits this sadness on your brows, my Cato. And a brave one too. Thou hast a Ro

friends? man soul.

I should have blushed if Cato's house had stood Juba. Hast thou not heard of my false coun- Secure, and flourished in a civil war. trymen ?

-Portius, behold thy brother, and remember Cato. Alas, young prince! falsehood and fraud | Thy life is not thy own, when Roine demands it. shoot up in every soil,

Juba. Was ever man like this ! The product of all climes-Rome has its Cæsars. Cuto. Alas, my friends, Juba. 'Tis generous thus to comfort the dis- Why mourn you thus ! let not a private loss tressed.

Aflict your hearts. 'Tis Rome requires our Cato. 'Tis just to give applause where 'tis de- tears, served;

The mistress of the world, the seat of empire, Thy virtue, prince, has stood the test of fortune, The nurse of heroes, the delight of gods, Like purest gold, that, tortured in the furnace, That humbled the proud tyrants of the earth, Comes out more bright, and brings forth all its And set the nations free, Rome is no more! weight.

Oh, liberty! Oh, virtue! Oh, my country! Juba. What shall I answer thee? My ravished Jiba. Behold that upright man! Romne tills his

heart O'erflows with sacred joy : I would rather gain With tears, that flowed not o'er his own dead son. Thy praise, 0 Cato! than Numidia's einpire.


[ocr errors]




Cato. Whate'er the Roman virtue has sub- Twill be no crime to have been Cato's friend. dued,

Portius, draw near: my son, thou oft hast seen The sun's whole course, the day and year are Thy sire engaged in a corrupted state, Cæsar's :

Wrestling with vice and faction: now thou see'st For him the self-devoted Decii died, The Fabii fell, and the great Scipios conquered; Spent, overpowered, despairing of success; Even Pompey fought for Cæsar. Oh, my friends, Let me advise thee to retreat betimes How is the toil of fate, the work of ages, To thy paternal seat, the Sabine field, The Roman empire, fallen! Oh, cursed ambi- Where the great Censor toiled with his own tion !

hands, Fallen into Cæsar's hand : Our great forefathers And all our frugal ancestors were blessed Had left him nought to conquer but his country. In humble virtues, and a rural life;

Juba. While Cato lives, Cæsar will blush to see There live retired, pray for the peace of Rome; Mankind enslaved, and be ashamed of empire. Content thyself to be obscurely good. Cato. Cæsar ashamed ! has he not seen Phar- When vice prevails, and impious men bear sway, salia!

The post of honour is a private station. Luc. Cato, 'tis time thou save thyself and us. Por. I hope my father does not recommend Cato. Lose not a thought on me; I am out of A life to Portius, that he scorns himself? danger;

Cato. Farewell, my friends! If there be any Heaven will not leave me in the victor's hand. Cæsar shall never say he conquered Cato. Who dare not trust the victor's clemency, But, oh, my friends! your safety fills my heart Know there are ships prepared by my command With anxious thoughts; a thousand secret ter- (Their sails already opening to the winds),

That shall convey you to the wished-for port. Rise in soul. How shall I save my friends ? Is there aught else, my friends, I can do for 'Tis now, Cæsar, I begin to fear thee !

you? Luc. Cæsar has mercy if we ask it of him. The conqueror draws near. Once more fareCato. Then ask it, I conjure you! let him know

well! Whate'er was done against him, Cato did it. If e'er we meet hereafter, we shall meet And, if you please, that I request it of him, In happier climes, and on a safer shore, That I myself, with tears, request it of him, Where Cæsar never shall approach us more. The virtue of my friends may pass unpunished.

(Pointing to his dead son. Juba, my heart is troubled for thy sake.

There, the brave youth, with love of virtue fired, Should I advise thee to regain Numidia,

Who greatly in his country's cause expired, Or seek the conqueror?

Shall know he conquered. The firm patriot Juba. If I forsake thee

there, Whilst I have life, may Heaven abandon Juba ! Who made the welfare of mankind his care,

Cato. Thy virtues, prince, if I foresee aright, Though still by faction, vice, and fortune crost, Will one day make thee great; at Rome here- Shall find the generous labour was not lost. after,


of you,






The wide, the unbounded prospect lies before me;

But shadows, clouds, and darkness rest upon it. Cato solus, sitting in a thoughtful posture : in Here will I hold. If there's a Power above,

his hand Plato's book on the Immortality of the (And that there is all Nature cries aloud, Soul. A drawn suord on the table by him.

Through all her works, he must delight in virtue; It must be so-Plato, thou reasonest well. And that which he delights in must be happy. Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire, But when! or where—this world was made for This longing after imınortality?

Cæsar. Or whence this secret dread, and inward horror, I'm weary of conjectures—this must end them. Of falling into nought? Why shırinks the soul

(Laying his hand on his sword. Back on herself, and startles at destruction? Thus I am doubly armed: my death and life, 'Tis the divinity that stirs within us;

My bane and antidote, are both before me. 'Tis Heaven itself, that points out an hereafter, This in a moment brings me to an end; And intimates eternity to man.

But this informs me I shall never die. Eternity! thou pleasing, dreadful thought! The soul, secured in her existence, smiles Through what variety of untried being,

At the drawn dagger, and defies its point. Through what new scenes and changes must we the stars shall fade away, the sun himself pass?

urow dim with age, and nature sink in years.


you !

But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,

Por. My thoughts are more at ease, my heart Unhurt amidst the war of elements,

[Erit Cato. The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds.

Enter MARCIA. What means this heaviness that hangs upon me? This lethargy that creeps through all my senses? Oh, Marcia! Oh, my sister, still there is hope ! Nature oppressed, and harrassed out with care, Our father will not cast away a life, Sinks down to rest. This once I'll favour her, So needful to us all and to his country. That my awakened soul may take her flight, He is retired to rest, and seems to cherish Renewed in all her strength, and fresh with life, Thoughts full of peace. He has dispatched me An offering fit for Heaven. Let guilt or fear

hence, Disturb man's rest; Cato knows neither of them; With orders that bespeak a mind composed, Indifferent in his choice to sleep or die.

And studious for the safety of his friends.

Marcia, take care that none disturb his slumEnter PORTIUS.


[Erit. But, ha! who's this? my son! Why this intrusion? Mar. Oh, ye immortal powers ! that guard the Were not my orders that I would be private?

just, Why am I disobeyed ?

Watch 'round his couch, and soften his repose; Por. Alas, my father!

Banish his sorrows, and becalm his soul What means this sword, this instrument of death? With easy dreams; remember all his virtues, Let me convey it hence.

And shew mankind that goodness is your

care ! Cato. Rash youth, forbear!

Enter Lucia. Por. Oh, let the prayers, the intreaties of your friends,

Luc. Where is your father, Marcia, where is Their tears, their common danger, wrest it from Cato?

Mar. Lucia, speak low, he is retired to rest. Cato. Wouldst thou betray me? Wouldst thou Lucia, I feel a gentle dawning hope give me up

Rise in my soul. We shall be happy still. A slave, a captive into Cæsar's hands?

Luc. Alas! I tremble when I think on Cato! Retire, and learn obedience to a father, In every view, in every thought, I tremble ! Or know, young man !

Cato is stern and awful as a god; Por. Look not thus sternly on me;

He knows not how to wink at human frailty, You know I'd rather die than disobey you. Or pardon weakness that he never felt.

Cato. 'Tis well ! again I'm master of myself. Mur. Though stern and awful to the foes of Now, Cæsar, let thy troops beset our gates,

And bar each avenue; thy gathering feets He is all goodness, Lucia, always mild,
O'erspread the sea, and stop up every port; Compassionate and gentle to his friends.
Cato 'shall open to himself a passage,

Filled with domestic tenderness, the best,
And mock thy hopes.

The kindest father I have ever found him, Por. Oh, sir ! forgive your son,

Easy and good, and bounteous to my wishes. Whose grief hangs heavy on him. Oh, my Luc. 'Tis his consent alone can make us blessed: ther!

Marcia, we both are equally involved
How am I sure it is not the last time

In the same intricate, perplexed distress.
I e'er shall call you so ! Be not displeased, The cruel hand of fate, that has destroyed
Oh, be not angry with me whilst I weep,

Thy brother Marcus, whom we both lament, And, in the anguish of my heart, beseech you Mar. And ever shall lament; unhappy youth! To quit the dreadful purpose


Luc. Has set my soul at large, and now I Cato. Thou hast been ever good and dutiful.


[Embracing him. Loose of my vow. But who knows Cato's Weep not, my son, all will be well again;

thoughts? The righteous gods, whom I have sought to please, Who knows how yet he may dispose of Portius, Will succour Cato, and preserve his children. Or how he has determined of thyself? Por. Your words give comfort to my drooping Mar. Let him but live, commit the rest to heart.

Heaven. Cato. Portius, thou may'st rely upon my conduct:

Enter Lucius. Thy father will not act what misbecomes him. Lucius. Sweet are the slumbers of the virtu But go, my son, and see if aught be wanting

ous man ! Among thy father's friends ; see them embarked, Oh, Marcia, I have seen thy godlike father! And tell me if the winds and seas befriend them. Some power invisible supports his soul, My soul is quite weighed down with care, and And bears it up in all its wonted greatness. asks

A kind refreshing sleep is fallen upon him : The soft refreshment of a moment's sleep. I saw him stretched at ease, his fancy lost



hurt me.



In pleasing dreams; as I drew near his couch, And placed him in his chair, where, pale and He smiled, and cried, Cæsar, thou cans't not faint,

He gasps for breath, and, as his life flows from Mar. His mind still labours with some dread

him, ful thought.

Demands to see his friends. His servants weepLucius. Lucia, why all this grief, these floods of sorrow?

Obsequious to his order, bear him hither. Dry up thy tears, my child; we all are safe Mar. Oh, Heaven! assist me in this dreadful While Cato lives his presence will protect us.

hour, To

pay the last sad duties to my father! Enter JUBA.

Juba. These are thy triumphs, thy exploits, 0 Juba. Lucius, the horsemen are returned from Cæsar ! viewing

Lucius. Now is Rome fallen indeed!
The number, strength, and posture of our foes,
Who now encamp within a short hour's march;

Cato brought in on a chair.
On the high point of yon bright western tower Cato. Here set me down-
We ken them from afar; the setting sun Portius, come near me Are my friends em-
Plays on their shining arms and burnished bel- barked?

Can any thing be thought of for their service? And covers all the field with gleams of fire. Whilst I yet live, let me not live in vain. Lucius. Marcia, 'tis time we should awake thy Oh, Lucius, art thou here? Thou art too goodfather;

Let this our friendship live between our children; Cæsar is still disposed to give us terms,

Make Portius happy in thy daughter Lucia. And waits at distance till be hears from Cato. Alas! poor man, he weeps ! Marcia, my daughe Enter PORTIUS.

Uh, bend me forward ! Juba loves thee, Marcia. Portius, thy looks speak somewhat of importance. A senator of Rome, while Rome survived, What tidings dost thou bring ? Methinks I see Would not have matched his daughter with a Unusual gladness sparkling in thy eyes.

king, Por. As I was hasting to the port, where now But Cæsar's arms have thrown down all distincMy father's friends, impatient for a passage,

tion; Accuse the lingering winds, a sail arrived

Whoe'er is brave and virtuous is a Roman From Pompey's son, who through the realms of I'm sick to death-Oh, when shall I get loose Spain

From this vain world, the abode of guilt and sorCalls out for vengeance on his father's death,

row! And rouses the whole nation up to arms. And yet, methinks; a beam of light breaks in Were Cato at their head, once more might Rome On my departing soul. Alas, I fear Assert her rights, and claim her liberty. I've been too hasty. Oh, ye powers, that search But, hark! what means that groan! Oh, give me The heart of man, and weigh his inmost thoughts, way,

If I have done amiss, impute it not ! And let me Ay into my father's presence. [Erit. The best may err, but you are good, and-Oh! Lucius. Cato, amidst his slumbers, thinks on

[Dies. Rome,

Lucius. There fled the greatest soul that ever And in the wild disorder of his soul

warmed Mourns o'er his country. Ha! a second groan- A Roman breast; oh, Cato! oh, my friend ! Heaven guard us all !

Thy will shall be religiously observed. Mar. Alas! 'tis not the voice

But let us bear this awful corpse to Cæsar, Of one who sleeps; 'tis agonizing pain,

And lay it in his sight, that it may stand Tis death is in that sound.

A fence betwixt us and the victor's wrath ;

Cato, though dead, shall still protect his friends. Re-enter PORTIUS.

From hence, let fierce contending nations know Por. Oh, sight of woe!

What dire effects from civil discord Aow: Oh, Marcia, what we feared is come to pass ! Tis this that shakes our country with alarms, Cato is fallen upon his sword.

And gives up Rome a prey to Roman arms, Lucius. Oh, Portius,

Produces fraud, and cruelty, and strife, Hide all the horrors of thy mournful tale, And robs the guilty world of Cato's life. And let us guess the rest.

[Exeunt omnes. Por. I've raised him up,


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

Scene-A great hall in the court of Pyrrhus, at Buthrotos, the capital city of Epirus.



ed you,

SCENE I.— The Palace of Pyrrhus. Orest. It was, indeed, a morning full of horror!

Pyl. A thousand boding cares have racked my Enter ORESTES, PYLADES, and Attendants.

soul Orest. O Pylades! what's life without a friend? In your behalf. Often, with tears, I mourned At sight of thee my gloomy soul cheers up; The fatal ills, in which your life's involved, My hopes revive, and gladness dawns within me. And grudged you dangers which I could not After an absence of six tedious moons,

share. How could I hope to find my Pylades,

I feared to what extremities the black despair, My joy, my comfort, on this fatal shore? That preyed upon your mind, might have betrayEven in the court of Pyrrhus ! in these realms, These hated realms, so cross to all my wishes. And lest the gods, in pity to your woes, Oh, my brave friend ! may no blind stroke of fate Should hear your prayers, and take the life you Divide us more, and tear me from myself.

loathed. Pyl. O prince! O my Orestes! O my friend! But now with joy I see you !- -The retinue, Thus let me speak the welcome of my heart. · And numerous followers, that surround you here,

[Embracing. Speak better fortunes, and a mind disposed
Since I have gained this unexpected meeting, To relish life.
Blest be the powers who barred my way to Greece, Orest. Alas, my friend, who knows
And kept me here, e'er since the unhappy day, The destiny to which I stand reserved!
When warring winds (Epirus full in view) I come in search of an inhuman fair,
Sundered our barks on the loud, stormy main. And live or die, as she decrees my fate.

VOL. 1.


« НазадПродовжити »