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Confed'racies in vice, or leagues of pleasure;
Durs has severest virtue for its basis,
And such a friendship ends not but with life.
Marć. Portius, thou know'st my soul in all its weak.

ness,
Then pr’ythee spare me on its tender side.
Indulge me but in love, my other passions
Shall rise and fall by virtue's nicest rules.

Por. When love's well-tim'd, 'tis not a fault to love.
The strong, the brave, the virtuous, and the wise,
Sink in the soft captivity together.
I would not urge thee to dismiss thy passion,
(I know 'twere vain) but to suppress its force,
Till better times may make it look more graceful.

Marc. Alas! thou talk'st like one who never felt Th' impatient throbs and longings of a soul That pants and reaches after distant good. A lover.does not live by vulgar time: Believe me, Portius, in my Lucia's absence Life hangs upon me, and becomes a burden; And yet, when I behold the charming maid, I'm ten times more undone; while hope and fear, And grief, and rage, and love, rise up at once, And with variety of pain distract me.

Por. What can thy Portius do‘to give thee help?
Marc. Portius, thou oft enjoy'st the fair-one's pre-

sence ;
Then undertake my cause, and plead it to her
With all the strength and heat of eloquence
Fraternal love and friendship can inspire.

Tell her thy brother languishes to death,
And fades away, and withers in his bloom ;
That he forgets his sleep, and loaths his food,
That youth, and health, and war are joyless to him:
Describe his anxious days, and restless nights,
And all the torments that thou see'st me suffer.

Por. Marcus, I beg thee give me not an office That suits with me so ill. Thuu know'st my temper.

Marc. Wilt thou behold me sinking in my woes,
And wilt thou not reach out a friendly arm,
To raise me from amidst this plunge of sorrows?

Por. Márcus, thou can'st not ask what I'd refuse. But here, believe me, I've a thousand reasons

Marc. I know thou'lt say my passion's out of season, That Cato's great example and misfortunes Should both conspire to drive it from my thoughts. But what's all this to one that loves like me O Portius, Portius, from my soul I wish Thou did'st but know thyself what 'tis to love ! Then wouldst thou pity and assist thy brother.

Por. What should I do? If I disclose my passion Our friendship’s at an end; if I conceal it, The world will call me false to a friend and brother.

[ Aside. Marc. But see where Lucia, at her wonted hour, Amid the cool of yon high marble arch, Enjoys the noon-day breeze! Observe her, Portius; That face, that shape, those eyes, that heav'n of

beauty! Observe her well, and blame me if thou canst.

F

Por. She sees us, and advances

Marc. I'll withdraw, And leave you for a while. Remember, Portius, Thy brother's life depends upon thy tongue. [Exit.

His rage

Enter Lucia.
Luc. Did I not see your brother Marcus here?
Why did he fly the place, and shun my presence ?
Por. Oh, Lucia, language is too faint to shew

of love; it preys upon his life ; He pines, he sickens, he despairs, he dies : “ His passions, and his virtues lie confus'd, • And mixt together in so wild a tumult, “ That the whole man is quite disfigur'd in him. “ Heav'ns, would one think 'twere possible for love “ To make such ravage in a noble soul!” Oh, Lucia, I'm distress'd; my heart bleeds for him: Ev'n now, while thus I stand blest in thy presence, A secret damp of grief comes o'er my thoughts, And I'm unhappy, though thou smil'st upon me.

Luc. How wilt thou guard thy honour, in the shock
Of love and friendship? Think betimes, my Portius,
Think how the nuptial tie, that might ensure
Our mutual bliss, would raise to such height
Thy brother's griefs, as might perhaps destroy him.
Por. Alas, poor youth! What dost thou think, my

Lucia ?
His gen'rous, open, undesigning heart
Has begg'd his rival to solicit for him ;
Then do not strike him dead with a denial;

But hold him up in life, and cheer his soul
With the faint glimm’ring of a doubtful hope;
Perhaps when we have pass'd these gloomy hours,
And weather'd out the storm that beats upon us

Luc. No, Portius, no; I see thy sister's, tears,
Thy father's anguish, and thy brother's death,
In the pursuit of our ill-fated loves :
And, Portius, here I swear, to Heav'n I swear,
To Heav'n and all the powers that judge mankind,
Never to mix my plighted hands with thine,
While such a cloud of mischief hangs upon us,
But to forget our loves, and drive thee vut
From all my thoughts as far-as I am able.
Por. What hast thou said ! I'm thunderstruck

recall Those hasty words, or I am lost for ever.

Luc. Has not the vow already pass'd my lips ? The gods have heard it, and 'tis seal'd in Heav'n. May all the vengeance that was ever pour'd On perjur'd heads o'erwhelm me, if I break it.

Por. Fix'd in astonishment, I gaze upon thee, Like one just blasted by a stroke from Heav'n, 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 !

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Luc. 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 its

force, “ I've been deluded, led into a dream “ Of fancy'd bliss. Oh, Lucia, cruel maid ! “ Thy dreadful vow, loaden with death, still sounds my stunnid

What shall I say or do? Quick let us part! Perdition's in thy presence, “ And horror dwells about thee! Ha! she faints ! “ Wretch that I am, what has my rashness done! “ Lucia, thou injur'd innocence! thou best “ And loveliest of thy sex. I 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 ev'ry charm.

Luc. On, Portius was this well-to frown on her " that lives upon thy smiles? To call in doubt “s 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 was bound. 66 Destruction stands betwixt us; we must part.

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