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and virtuous ev'n to madness
Cato. Trust me, Lucius,
our civil discords have produced such crimes, such monstrous crimes, I am surpris'd at nothing. -O Lucius, I am sick of this bad world! the day-light and the sun grow painful to me. Enter PORTIUS.
But see where Portius comes! what means this haste? why are thy looks thus chang'd?
Por. My heart is griev'd. I bring such news as will afflict my father. Cato. Has Cæsar shed more Roman blood? Por.
The traitor Syphax, as within the square he exercis'd his troops, the signal given, flew off at once with his Numidian horse to the south gate, where Marcus holds the watch. I saw, and call'd to stop him, but in vain; he toss'd his arm aloft, and proudly told me,
he would not stay and perish like Sempronius.
Cato. Perfidious men! but haste, my son, and see thy brother Marcus acts a Roman's part.
[Exit Portius. -Lucius, the torrent bears too hard upon me: Justice gives way to force: the conquer'd world is Cæsar's: Cato has no business in it.
Luc. While pride, oppression, and injustice reign the world will still demand her Cato's presence, in pity to mankind, submit to Cæsar,
and reconcile thy mighty soul to life.
Cato. Would Lucius have me live to swell the
of Cæsar's slaves, or by a base submission [number give up the cause of Rome, and own a tyrant? Luc. The victor never will impose on Cato
ungenerous terms. His enemies confess the virtues of humanity are Cæsar's.
Cato. Curse on his virtues! they've undone his Such popular humanity is treason.—
But see young Juba! the good youth appears
full of the guilt of his perfidious subjects.
Luc. Alas, poor prince! his fate deserves compassion, Enter JUBA.
Jub. I blush, and am confounded to appear before thy presence, Cato.
my false countrymen ?
What's thy crime?
And a brave one too,
Hast thou not heard
Alas! young Prince, falsehood and fraud shoot up in every soil,
the product of all climes.-Rome has it's Cæsars. Jub. 'Tis generous thus to comfort the distress'd. Cato. 'Tis just to give applause where't is deserv'd; thy virtue, prince, has stood the test of fortune, like purest gold, that, tortur'd in the furnace, comes out more bright, and brings forth all it's weight, Jub. What shall I answer thee? my ravish'd heart overflows with secret joy: I'd rather gain thy praise, O Cato, than Numidia's empire, Enter PORTIUS hastily.
Por. 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? Por. Scarce had I left my father, but I met him
borne on the shields of his surviving soliders, 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. Cato.
Por. Nor did he fall before
his sword had pierc'd through the false heart of SyYonder he lies. I saw the hoary traitor
[phax. grin in the pangs of death, and bite the ground.
Cato. Thanks to the gods! my boy has done his du Portius, when I am dead, be sure thou place [ty.his urn near mine.
Por. Long may they keep asunder!
Luc. O Cato, arm thy soul with all its patience; see where the corpse of thy dead son approaches! the citizens and senators, alarm'd,
have gather'd round it, and attend it weeping.
CATO meeting the Corpse.-SENATORS attending. Cato. Welcome, my son! Here lay him down my full in my sight, that I may view at leisure [friends, 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 sits 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,
why mourn you thus? let not a private loss
Jub. Behold that upright man! Rome fills his eyes with tears, that flow'd not o'er his own dead son. [Aside. Cato. Whate'er the Roman virtue has subdued, 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 Cæsar. Oh, my friends, how is the toil of fate, the work of ages,
the Roman empire, fall'n! Oh, curs'd ambition! Fall'n into Cæsar's hands! Our great forefathers had left him nought to conquer but his country. Jub. While Cato lives, Cæsar will blush to see mankind enslav'd and be asham'd of empire.
Cato. Cæsar asham'd! Has not he seen Pharsalia? Luc. 'T is time thou save thyself and us.
Cato. Lose not a thought on me; I'm out of danHeav'n will not leave me in the victor's hand. [ger: Cæsar shall never say, I've conquer'd Cato. But oh, my friends! your safety fills my heart with anxious thoughts; a thousand secret terrors rise in my soul. How shall I save my friends? 'T is now, O Cæsar, I begin to fear thee!
Luc. Cæsar has mercy, if we ask it of him. Cato. Then ask it I conjure 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.
Jub. If I forsake thee
whilst I have life, may Heaven abandon Juba!
Cato. Thy virtues, prince, if I foresee aright, will one day make thee great; at Rome hereafter, 't will be no crime to have been Cato's friend.
Portius, draw near: my son, thou oft hast seen thy sire engag'd in a corrupted state,
wrestling with vice and faction; now thou seest 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, and all our frugal ancestors were bless'd
in humble virtues, and a rural life;
there live retir'd, pray for the peace of Rome; content thyself to be obscurely good.
When vice prevails, and impious men bear sway, the post of honour is a private station.
Por. I hope my father does not recommend a life to Portius, that he scorns himself.
Cato. Farewell, my friends! If there be any of you who dare not trust the victor's clemency,
know there are ships prepar'd, by my command,