Page images

Alas, poor prince! his fate deserves compallion.

[ocr errors][merged small]

' I blush, and am confounded to appear
Before thy presence, Cato.


What 's thy crime ?

I'm a Numidian.


And a brave one too,
Thou hast a Roman soul.


Hast thou not heard
Of my false countrymen ?


Alas ! young prince,
: Falsehood and fraud shoot


The product of all climes. --Rome has its Cæfars.

'Tis generous thus to comfort the distress d.

'Tis just to give applause where 'tis deservd;
Thy virtue, prince, has stood the test of fortune,
-Like purest gold, that, torturd in the furnace,
Comes out more bright, and brings forth all its weight.



Y 2

What Mall I answer thee ? my ravish'd heart
O’erflows with secret joy : I'd rather gain
Thy praise, o Cato, than Numidia's empire.

Enter PORTIUS hastily.

PORTIUS. Misfortune on misfortune ! grief on grief! My brother Marcus


Ha! what has he done?
Has he forsook his post ? has he given way?
Did he look tamely on, and let them pass ?

Scarce had I left my father, but I met him
Borne on the shields of his surviving soldiers,
Breathless and pale, and cover'd o'er with wounds.
Long, at the head of his few faithful friends,
He stood the shock of a whole host of foes,

Till, obstinately brave, and bent on death,
Opprest with multitudes, he greatly fell.

САто. I'm fatisfy’d.


Nor did he fall before His sword had pierc'd through the false heart of Syphax; Yonder he lies. I saw the hoary traitor Grin in the pangs of death, and bite the ground.


CATO. Thanks to the gods ! my boy has done his duty.-Portius, when I am dead, be sure thou place His urn near mine.


Long may they keep' asunder!

O Cato, arm thy soul with all its patience ;
See where the corpse of thy dead fon approaches !
The citizens and senators, alarm’d,
Have gather'd round it, and attend it weeping.

CATO meeting the corpje.


Welcome, my son ! here lay him down, my friends, Full in my light, that I may view at leisure The bloody corse, and count those glorious wounds. How beautiful is death, when earn’d by virtue ! Who would not be that youth? what pity is it That we can die but once to serve our country ! Why fits this sadness on your brows, my friends ? I should have blush'd if Cato's house had stood Secure, and flourish'd in a civil war.Portius, behold thy brother, and remember Thy life is not thy own when Rome demands it.

JUBA. Was ever man like this!

[ Aside. CATO.

Alas, my friends! Why mour.ycu thus ? let not a private loss

A liet

Y 3

Afflict your

hearts. 'Tis Rome requires our tears:
The mistress of the world, the seat of empire,
The nurse of heroes, the delight of gods,
That humbled the proud tyrants of the earth,
And set the nations free, Rome is no more..
O liberty! O virtue ! O my country!

Behold that upright man! Rome fills his

eyes With tears, that flow'd not o'er his own dead fon. [ Aside,

CA TO. Whate'er the Roman virtue has fubdued, The sun's whole course, the day and year, are Cæsar's For him the self-devoted Decii dy'd, The Fabii fell, and the great Scipio's conquer'd : Ev'n Pompey fought for Cæfar. Oh, my friends! How is the toil of fate, the work of ages, The Roman empire fall’n! O curst ambition ! Fall'n into Cæsar's hands ! Our great fore-fathers Had left him nought to conquer

but his country.

While Cato lives, Cæsar will blush to see
Mankind enslav'd, and be asham'd of empire.

Cæfar asham'd! has not he seen Pharsalia !

Cato, 'tis time thou save thyself and us.

Lose not a thought on me, I'm out of danger.
Heaven will not leave me in the victor's hand.


Cæfar shall never say, I've conquerid Cato,
But oh! my friends, your fafety fills my heart
With anxious thoughts: a thoufand fècret terrors
Rise in my soul : how shall I tave my friends ?
'Tis now, O Czfar, I begin to fear thee.

Cæfar has mercy, if we ask it of him. -

Then ask it, I conjve you ! let him know
Whate’er was done against him, Cato did it.
Add, if you please, that I request it of him,
That I myself, with tears, request it of him,
The virtue of my friends may pass unpunish d.
Juba, my heart is troubled for thy fake.
Should I advise thee to regain Numidia,
Or seek the conqueror ?


If I forfake thee Whilft I have life, may heaven abandon Juba !

с А то, Thy virtues, prince, if I foresee aright, Will one day make thee great; at Rome hereafter, "Twill be no crime to have been Çato's friend.

Portius, draw near! my son, thou oft haft seen Thy fire engag'd in a corrupted state, Wrestling with vice and fa&tion : now thou scelt me Spent, overpower'd, despairing of success; Let me advise thee to retreat betimes To thy paternal seat, the Sabine field, Where the great Censor toil'd with his own hands,

[ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »