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Of his thronged legions, and charge home upon him;
Perhaps some arm, more lucky than the rest,
May reach his heart, and free the world from BONDAGE,
Rise, fathers, rise!

(with much animation.

'Tis Rome demands your help ;
Rise, and revenge her slaughtered citizens,
Or share their fate! The corpse of half her Senate
Manure the fields of Thessaly, while we
Sit here deliberating (protracted] in cold debates
If we should sacrifice our lives to HONOUR,
Or wear them out in SERVITUDE and Chains.
Rise up, for shame! our brothers of Pharsalia
Point at their wounds, and cry aloud-TO BATTLE !
Great Pompey's shade complains that we are slow ;

And Scipio's ghost walks unrevenged among us.
Cato. (gravely) Let not a torrent of impetuous zeal

Transport thee tbus beyond the bounds of Reason :
True Fortitude is seen in great exploits,
That justice warrants, and that wisdom guides ;
All else is towering frenzy and distraction.
Are not the lives of those who draw the sword
In Rome's defence intrusted to our care?
Should we thus lead them to a field of slaughter,
Might not the impartial world with reason say,
We lavished at our deaths the blood of thousands,
To grace our fall, and make our ruin glorious ?

Lucius, we next would know what's your opinion ? Lucius. My thoughts, I must confess, are turned on Peace.

Already have our quarrels filled the world
With widows, and with orphans. Scythia mourns
Our guilty wars; and earth's remotest regions
Lie half unpeopled by the feuds of Rome.
'Tis time to sheath the sword, and spare mankind.
It is not CÆSAR, but the gods, my fathers,
The gods declare against us, and repel
Our vain attempts. To urge the foe to battle,
(Prompted by blind revenge and wild despair)
Were to refuse the awards of providence,
And not to rest in heaven's determination.
Already have we shown our love to ROME:
Now let us show submission to the GODS.
We took up arms, not to revenge ourselves,
But free the Commonwealth ; when this end fails,
Arms have no further use.

Our COUNTRY's cause,
That drew our swords, now wrests 'em from our hands,
And bids us not delight in Roman blood,
Unprofitably shed. What men could do,
Is done already; heaven and earth will witness,

If Rome must fall, that we are innocent.
Sem. This smooth discourse, and mild behaviour, oft

Conceal a traitor-something whispers me

All is not right.—Cato, beware of Lucius. [aside to Cato. Cato. Let us appear not rash nor diffident;

Immoderate valour swells into a fault;
And fear admitted into public councils
Betrays like treason. Let us shun 'em both,-
Fathers, I cannot see that our affairs
Are grown thus desperate: 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 Cæsar'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 ;
And let me perish, but in Cato's judgment,
A day, an hour of virtuous liberty,
Is worth a whole eternity in bondage.

[Enter Junius. Junius. Fathers, this moment, as I watched the gate,

Lodged on my post, a herald is arrived
From Cæsar's camp, and with him comes old Decius,
The Roman knight; he carries in his looks

Impatience; and demands to speak with Cato.
Cato. By your permission, fathers—bid him enter.

[Exit Junius.
Decius was once my friend, but other prospects
Have loosed those ties, and bound him fast to Cæsar.
His message may determine our resolves.

[Enter Decius and Junius. Decius. Cæsar sends health to Cato.

Cato. (with sternness) Could he send it

To Cato's slaughtered friends, it would be welcome.

Are not your orders to address the Senate ? Decius. My business is with Cato. Cæsar sees

The straits to which you're driven, and as he knows

Cato's high worth, is anxious for your LIFE.
Cato. (with enthusiasm) My life is grafted on the fate of Rome.

Would he save Cato? bid him spare bis country.
Tell your DICTATOR this; and tell him, Cato
Disdains a life which he has power to offer.

Decius. Rome and her senators submit to Cæsar ;

Her generals and her consuls are no more,
Who checked his conquests, and denied his triumphs.

Why will not Cato be this Cæsar's friend?
Cato. These very reasons thou hast urged forbid it.
Decius. Cato, I have orders to expostulate,

And reason with you, as from friend to friend :
Think on the storm that gathers o'er your head,
And threatens every hour to burst upon it;
Still may you stand high in your country's honours,
Do but comply, and make your peace with Cæsar,
Rome will rejoice, and cast its eyes on Cato,
As on the second of mankind.

Cato. (angrily) No more!

I must not think of life on such conditions.

Decius. Cæsar 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. (dignified & commanding) 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.
Decius. Cato, the world talks loudly of your wisdom.
Cato. Nay more: though Cato's voice were 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.
Decius. A style like this becomes a conqueror.
Cato. Decius, a style like this becomes a Roman.

Decius. What

a Roman, that is Cæsar's foe?


Greater than Cæsar: he's a friend to Virtue.

Decius. 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 Cæsar's sword has made Rome's Senate little,
And thinned 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 d'st see him black
With murder, treason, sacrilege, and crimes,
That strike my soul with horror but to name 'em.
I know thou lookést on me as on a wretch,
Beset with ills, and covered with misfortunes ;
But by the Gods I swear, millions of worlds

Should never buy me to-be-like-that-Cæsar.
Decius. Does Cato send this answer back to Cæsar,

For all his generous cares and proffer'd friendship ?
Cato. His cares for me are insolent and vain :

Presumptuous man! the gods take care of Cato.
Would Cæsar show the greatness of his soul,
Bid bim employ his care for these, my friends,
And make good use of his ill-gotten power,

By sheltering men inuch better than himself.
Decius. Your high unconquered 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 Decius with Junius. Sem.

Cato we thank thee;
The mighty genius of immortal Rome
Speaks in thy voice; thy soul breathes liberty.
Cæsar will shrink to hear the words thou utterest,

And shudder in the midst of all his conquests.
Luc. The Senate owns its gratitude to Cato,

Who with so great a soul consults its safety,

And guards our lives, while he neglects his own.
Sem. Sempronius gives no thanks on this account.

Lucius (sneeringly) 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.
Oh, could my dying hand but lodge a sword
In Cæsar's bosom, and revenge my country!
By heavens! I could enjoy the pangs of death,

And smile in agony !

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.


Cato, my resentments
Are sacrificed to Rome-I stand reproved.
Cato. Fathers, 'tis time you come to a resolve.
Luc. We all go into your opinion,

Cæsar's behaviour has convinced the Senate

We ought to hold it out till terins arrive.
Sem. We ought to hold it out till death ; but, Cato,

My private voice is drown'd amidst the Senate's.
Cato. Then let us rise, my friends, and 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 Heaven may say it ought to be prolonged.


London: G. Morrish, Printer, Camberwell.

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