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LUCIUS. Sweet are the slumbers of the virtuous man!
O Marcia, I have seen thy godlike father:
Some power invisible supports his soul,
And bears it up in all its wonted greatness.
A kind refreshing sleep is fallen upon him :
I saw him stretch'd at ease, his fancy lost
In pleasing dreams; as I drew near his couch,
He smiled, and cry'd, Cæsar thou canst not hurt me.
His mind still labours with some dreadful
LUCIUS. Lucia, why all this grief, these floods of sorrow?
Dry up thy tears, my child, we all are safe
While Cato lives his presence will protect us.
JUBA. Lucius, the horsemen are return’d from viewing The number, strength, and posture of our foes, Who now encamp within a short hour's march. On the high point of yon bright western tower, We ken them from afar, the setting sun Plays on their shining arms and burnish'd helmets, And covers all the field with gleams of fire.
LUCIUS. Marcia, 'tis time we should awake thy father. Cæsar is still disposed to give us terms, And waits at distance till he hears from Cato.
Portius, thy looks speak somewhat of importance.
What tidings dost thou bring? methinks I see
Unusual gladness sparkling in thy eyes.
PORTIUS. As I was hasting to the port, where now My father's friends, impatient for a passage, Accuse the ling'ring winds, a sail arrived From Pompey's son, who through the realms of Spain Calls out for vengeance on his father's death, And rouses the whole nation up to arms. Were Cato at their head, once more might Rome Assert her rights, and claim her liberty. But, hark! what means that groan ! O give me way, And let me fly into my father's presence. [Exit Portius.
LUCIUS. Cato, amidst his slumbers, thinks on Rome, And in the wild disorder of his soul Mourns o'er his country.—Hah! a second groan Heaven guard us allMARCIA.
Alas! 'tis not the voice Of one who sleeps ! 'tis agonizing pain, 'Tis death is in that sound
O sight of woe!
O Marcia, what we fear'd is come to pass !
Cato is fallen upon his sword
Hide all the horrors of thy mournful tale,
And let us guess the rest.
I've rais'd him up,
And placed him in his chair, where, pale and faint,
He gasps for breath, and, as his life flows from him,
Demands to see his friends. His servants weeping,
Obsequious to his orders, bear him hither.
[The back scene opens, and discovers Cato.
MARCIA. O heaven assist me in this dreadful hour
To pay the last sad duties to my father.
JUBA. These are thy triumphs, thy exploits, O Cæsar!
LUCIUS. Now is Rome fallen indeed !
[Cato brought forward in his chair. CATO.
Here set me down
Portius come near meare my friends embark'd ?
Can any thing be thought of for their service ?
Whilst I yet live let me not live in vain.
-O Lucius, art thou here?-thou art too good !-
Let this our friendship live between our children;
Make Portius happy in thy daughter Lucia.
Alas! poor man, he weeps !-Marcia, my daughter-
O bend me forward !
-Juba loves thee, Marcia.
Asenator of Rome, while Rome survived,
Would not have match'd his daughter with a king,
But Cæsar's arms have thrown down all distinction;
Whoe'er is brave and virtuous, is a Roman-
-I'm sick to death-0. when shall I get loose
From this vain world, th' abode of guilt and sorrow!
- And yet methinks a beam of light breaks in
On my departing soul. Alas! I fear
I've been too hasty. O ye powers that search
The heart of man, and weigh his inmost thoughts,
If I have done amiss, impute it not !
The best may err, but you are good, and -oh! [Dies.
Lucius." There fled the greatest soul that ever warm’d
A Roman breast. O Cato! O my friend !
Thy will shall be religiously obsery’d.
& Alas ! I fear I've been too hasty. This sentiment is not in character; but the amiable author, ever attentive to the interests of religion and virtue, chose, for the sake of these, to violate decorum.
But let us bear this awful corpse to Cæsar,
And lay it in his sight, that it may stand
A fence betwixt us and the victor's wrath ;
Cato, tho' dead, shall still protect his friends.
From hence, let fierce contending nations know
What dire effects from civil discord flow.
'Tis this that shakes our country with alarms,
And gives up Rome a prey to Roman arms,
Produces fraud, and cruelty, and strife,
And robs the guilty world of Cato's life.
What odd fantastic things we women do !
Who wou'd not listen when young lovers woo?
But die a maid, yet have the choice of two!
Ladies are often cruel to their cost;
To give you pain, themselves they punish most.
Vows of virginity should well be weigh'd;
Too oft they're cancell'd, tho' in convents made.
Would you revenge such rash resolves--you may:
Be spiteful--and believe the thing we say;
We hate you when you're easily said nay.
How needless, if you knew us, were your fears !
Let love have eyes, and beauty will have ears.
Our hearts are form'd as you yourselves would chuse,
Too proud to ask, too humble to refuse :
We give to merit, and to wealth we sell;
He sighs with most success that settles well.
The woes of wedlock with the joys we mix;
'Tis best repenting in a coach and six.
Blame not our conduct, since we but pursue
Those lively lessons we have learn'd from you: