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Oh, Lucia, I'm distress'd! my heart bleeds for him;
has begg'd his rival to solicit for him.
with the faint glimmering of a doubtful hope:
And, Portius, here I swear, to heaven I swear, to heaven, and all the powers that judge mankind, never to mix my plighted hands with thine, while such a cloud of mischiefs hangs about 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! re
those hasty words, or I am lost for ever.
[call Luc. Has not the vow already pass'd my lips? the gods have heard it, and 't is seal'd in heaven. May all the vengeance, that was ever pour'd on perjur'd heads, o'erwhelm me, if I break it! [After a pause. Por. Fix'd in astonishment, I gaze upon thee;
like one just blasted by a stroke from heaven, who pants for breath, and stiffens, yet alive, in dreadful looks: a monument of wrath.
Luc. At length I've acted my severest part; I feel the woman breaking in upon me,
and melt about my heart! my tears will flow. But oh, I'll think no more! the hand of fate has torn thee from me, and I must forget thee. Por. Hard-hearted, cruel maid!
Oh, stop those sounds, those killing sounds! Why dost thou frown upon me? my blood runs cold, my heart forgets to heave, and life itself goes out at thy displeasure. The gods forbid us to indulge our loves, but, oh! I cannot bear thy hate, and live!
Por. Talk not of love, thou never knew'st it's force. I've been deluded, led into a dream
of fancied bliss. O Lucia, cruel maid!
thy dreadful vow, loaden with death, still sounds in my stunn'd ears. What shall I say or do? quick, let us part! perdition 's in thy presence, and horror dwells about thee!-Ah, she faints! wretch that I am! what has my rashness done! Lucia, thou injur'd innocence! thou best and loveliest of thy sex! awake, my Lucia, or Portius rushes on his sword to join thee. -Her imprecations reach not to the tomb, they shut not out society in death.
But, ah! she moves! life wanders up and down through all her face, and lights up every charm.
Luc. O Portius, was this well!-to frown on her that lives upon thy smiles! to call in doubt the faith of one expiring at thy feet,
that loves thee more than ever woman lov'd!
-What do I say? My half-recover'd sense forgets the vow in which my soul is bound. Destruction stands betwixt us! we must part.
Por. Name not the word, my frighted thoughts run and startle into madness at the sound.
[back, Luc. What would'st thou have me do? Consider the train of ills our love would draw behind it. [well Think, Portius, think, thou seest thy dying brother stabb'd at his heart, and all besmear'd with blood, storming at heaven and thee! thy awful sire sternly demands the cause, th' accursed cause, that robs him of his son! poor Marcia trembles, then tears her hair, and, frantic in her griefs, calls out on Lucia! What could Lucia answer? or how stand up in such a scene of sorrow? Por. To my confusion and eternal grief, I must approve the sentence that destroys me. The mist that hung about my mind clears up; and now, athwart the terrors that thy vow has planted round thee, thou appear'st more fair, more amiable, and risest in thy charms. Loveliest of women! heaven is in thy soul, beauty and virtue shine for ever round thee, brightening each other! thou art all divine!
Luc. Portius, no more! thy words shoot through melt my resolves, and turn me all to love. [my heart, Why are those tears of fondness in thy eyes? [row? why heaves thy heart? Why swells thy soul with sorit softens me too much.-Farewell, my Portius; farewell, tho' death is in the word, for-ever! [ever? Por. Stay, Lucia, stay! What dost thou say? ForLuc. Have I not sworn? If, Portius, thy success must throw thy brother on his fate, farewell; oh, how shall I repeat the world! for-ever!
Por. Thus o'er the dying lamp th' unsteady flame hangs quivering on a point, leaps off by fits, and falls again, as loth to quit it's hold.
Thou must not go, my soul still hovers o'er thee, and cann't get loose.
Luc. If the firm Portius shake to hear of parting, think what Lucia suffers! Por. 'T is true; unruffled and serene I've met the common accidents of life: but here
such an unlook'd-for storm of ills falls on me,
What dost thou say? Not part? hast thou forgot the vow that I have made? are there not heavens and gods and thunder o'er us! -But see 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 ever was love, or ever grief, like mine.
Mar. Portius, what hopes? How stands she? Am I
to life, or death?
What would'st thou have me say?
Mar. What means this pensive posture? Thou aplike one amaz'd and terrify'd.
[pear'st Mar. Thy down-cast looks, and thy disorder'd tell me my fate. I ask not the success [thoughts, my cause has found.
I'm griev'd I undertook it. Mar. What? Does the barbarous maid insult my my aching heart! and triumph in my pains? [heart, that I could cast her from my thoughts for ever!
Por. Away! you 're too suspicious in your griefs; Lucia, though sworn never to think of love, compassionates your pains, and pities you.
Mar. Compassionates my pains, and pities me? what is compassion when 't is 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 rhetorick, didst thou use to gain this mighty boon? She pities me! to one that asks the warm returns of love, compassion's cruelty, 't is scorn, 't is death.
Por. Marcus, no more! have I deserv'd this treatMar. What have I said! O Portius, O forgive me! a soul exasperated in ills, falls out
with every thing, it's friend, itself. But ha! what means that shout, big with the sounds of war? what new alarm?
A second, louder yet,
swells in the winds, and comes more full upon us. Mar. Oh, for some glorious cause to fall in battle! Lucia, thou hast undone me! thy disdain
has broke my heart: 't is death must give me ease. A Por. Quick, let us hence; who knows if Cato's life stand sure? O Marcus, I am warm'd, my heart leaps at the trumpet's voice, and burns for glory. [Exeunt, Enter SEMPRONIUS, with the LEADERS of the Muti
Sem. At length the winds are rais'd, the storm blows be it your care, my friends, to keep it up
in it's full fury, and direct it right,
till it has spent itself on Cato's head..
Mean while I'll herd among his friends, and seem one of the number, that, whate'er arrive,