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Is fix'd for death or conquest? [He bows. ] To me death,
Whoever conquers! [ Aside.] I detain you, sir.
Commend me to my brothers; say, I wish-
But wherefore should I wish? The gods will crown
Their virtues with the just success they merit-
Yet let me ask you, sir-

Sold. My duty, lady,
Commands me hence.. Ere this they have ergag'd;
And conquest's self would lose its charms to me,
Should I not share the danger.

As the Soldier goes out, VALERIA enters, who looks first

on him, and then on HORATIA. Valeria. My dear Horatia, wherefore wilt thou

court

The means to be unhappy? Still enquiring,
Still more to be undone. I heard it too ;
And flew to find thee, ere the fatal news
Had hurt thy quiet, that thou might'st have learnt it
From a friend's tongue, and dress'd in gentler terms.

Horatia. Oh, I am lost, Valeria! lost to virtue.
Ev’n while my country's fate, the fate of Rome,
Hangs on the conqueror's sword, this breast ca feel
A softer passion, and divide its cares.
Alba to moe is Rome. Wouldst thou believe it?
I would have sent, by liim thou saw'st departing,
Kind wishes to my brothers; but my tongue
Denied its office, and this rebel heart
Evʼn dreaded their success. Oh, Curiatius !
Why art thou there, or why an enemy?

can

were

Valeria. Forbear this self-reproach; he is thy

husband, And who can blame thy fears? If fortune make him A while thy country's foe, she cannot cancel Vows register'd above. What tho’ the priest Had not confirm'd it at the sacred altar ; Yet

your

hearts united, and that union
Approv'd by each consenting parent's choice.
Your brothers loy'd him as a friend, a brother ;
And all the ties of kindred pleaded for him,
And still must plead, whate'er our heroes teach 115,
Of patriot-strength. Our country may demand
We should be wretched, and we must obey;
But never can require us not to feel
That we are miserable : nature there
Will give the lie to virtue.

Horatia. True ; yet sure
A Roman virgin should be more than woman.
Are we not early taught to mock at pain,
And look on danger with undaunted eyes?
But what are dangers, what the ghastliest forma
Of death itself ?-Oh, were I only bid
To rush into the Tiber's foaming wave,

“ Swol'n with uncommon floods," or from the height ? Of yon Tarpeian rock, whose giddy steep

Has turn’d me pale with horror at the sight,
I'd think the task were nothing! but to bear
These strange vicissitudes of tort'ring pain,
To fear, to doubt, and to despair as I do
Valeria. And why despair ? Have we so idly learn'd
The noblest lessons of our infant days,
Our trust above? Does there not still remain
The wretch's last retreat, the gods, Horatia?
'Tis from their awful wills our evils spring,
And at their altars may we find relief.
Say, shall we thither i--Look not thus dejected,
But answer me. A confidence in them,
Ev'n in this crisis of our fate, will calm
Thy troubled soul, and fill thy breast with hope.
Horatia. Talk not of hope; “ the wretch on yonder

plain, 6. Who hears the victor's threats, and sees his sword “ Impending o'er him, feels no surer fate, 66 Tho' less delay'd than mine." What should I

hope? That Alba conquer ?-Curs'd be every thought Which looks that way! “ The shrieks of captive

matrons 6. Sound in niy ears!"

Valeria. Forbear, forbear, Horatia ; Nor fright me with the thought. Rome cannot fall. Think on the glorious battles she has fought; Has she once fail'd, though oft expos’d to danger; And has not her immortal founder promis'd That she should rise the mistress of the world?

Horatia. And if Rome conquers, then Horatia dies.

Valeria. Why wilt thou form vain images of horror, Industrious to be wretched? Is it thien Become impossible that Rome should triumph, And Curiatius live? He must, he shall;

Protecting gods shall spread their shields around him,
And love shall combat in floratia's cause.
Horatia. Think'st thou so meanly of him : No,

Valeria,
His soul's too great to give me such a trial;
Or could it ever come, I think, myself,
Thus lost in love, thus abject as I am,
I should despise the slave who dar'd survive
His country's ruin. Yeimmortal powers!
I love his fame too well, his spotless honour,
At least I hope I do, to wish him mine
On any terms which he must blush to own.

Horatius. [Without.] What hol Vindicus.
Horatia. What means that shouti-" Might we

not ask, Valeria ?”
Didst thou not wish me to the temple :- Come,
I will attend thee thither; the kind gods
Perhaps may ease this throbbing heart, and spread
At least a temporary calm within,

Valeria. Alas, Horatia, 'tis not to the temple That thou wouldst fly; the shout alone alarms thee. But do not thus anticipate thy fate; Why shouldst thou learn each chance of varying

war, 66 Which takes a thousand turns, and shifts the scene “ From bad to good, as fortune smiles or frowns" Stay but an hour perhaps, and thou shalt know The whole at once.—I'll send-- I'll Hy myself To ease thy doubts, and bring thee news of joy.

Horatia. Again, and nearer too-I must attend thee. Valeria. Hark! 'tis thy father's voice, he comes to

cheer thee.

Enter Horatius, and Valerius. Horatius. [Entering.) News from the camp, my

child! Save you, sweet maid !

[Secing Valeria.
Your brother brings the tidings, for, alas!
I am no warrior now; my useless age,
Far from the paths of honour loiters here
In sluggish inactivity at home.
Yet I remember--

Horatia. You'll forgive us, sir,
If with impatience we expect the tidings.

Horatius. I had forgot; the thoughts of what I was
Engross'd my whole attention.–Pray, young soldier,
Relate it for me; you beheld the scene,
And can report it justly.

Valerius. Gentle lady, The scene was piteous, though its end be peace. Horatia. Peace? O, my fluttering heart 1 by what

kind means? Valerius. 'Twere tedious, lady, and unnecessary To paint the disposition of the field ; Suffice it, we were arm’d, and front to front The adverse legions heard the trui 's sound: But vain was the alarm, for motionless, And wrapt in thought they stood; the kindred ranks "ad caught each other's eyes, nor dar'd to lift

e fault'ring spear against the breast they lov'd.

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