« EelmineJätka »
Farewel, my friends! if there be any of you
Who dare not truft the victor's clemency,
Know, there are ships prepared by my command,
(Their fails already opening to the winds)
That shall convey you to the wifh'd-for port.
Is there aught elfe, my friends, I can do for you?
The conqueror draws near. Once more farewel!
If e'er we meet hereafter, we shall meet
In happier climes, and on a safer fhore,
Where Cafur never shall approach us more.
[Pointing to bis dead fon.
There the brave youth, with love of virtue fired,
Who greatly in his country's cause expired,
Shall know he conquer'd. The firm patriot there
(Who made the welfare of mankind his care)
Tho' ftill by faction, vice, and fortune croft,
Shall find the gen'rous labour was not loft.
CATO folus, fitting in a thoughtful pofture: In bis band Plato's book on the immortality of the foul. A drawin fword on the table by him.
T must be fo-Plato, thou reafon'st well-
Elfe whence this pleafing hope, this fond defire,
This longing after immortality?
Or whence this fecret dread, and inward horror,
Of falling into nought? Why fhrinks the foul
Back on herself, and startles at destruction?
'Tis the divinity that stirs within us;
'Tis heav'n itself, that points out an hereafter,
And intimates eternity to man.
Eternity! thou pleasing, dreadful thought!
Through what variety of untry'd being,
Through what new scenes and changes must we pafs!
The wide, th' unbounded profpect lies before me;
But shadows, clouds, and darkness rest upon it.
Here will I hold. If there's a power above us,
(And that there is all nature cries aloud
Through all her works) he muft delight in virtue,
And that which he delights in, muft be happy.
But when! or where!-This world was made for Cæfar. I'm weary of conjectures-this must end 'em.
[Laying his hand upon his fword.
Thus am I doubly arm'd: my death and life,
My bane and antidote are both before me:
This in a moment brings me to an end;
But this informs me I fhall never die.
The foul, fecur'd in her exiftence, fmiles
At the drawn dagger, and defies its point.
The stars fhall fade away, the fun himself
Grow dim with age, and nature fink in years,
But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds.
What means this heavinefs that hangs upon me?
This lethargy that creeps through all my senses?
Nature opprefs'd, and harrass'd out with care,
Sinks down to rest. This once I'll favour her,
That my awaken'd soul may take her flight,
Renew'd in all her ftrength, and fresh with life,
An off'ring fit for heav'n. Let guilt or fear
Disturb man's reft: Cato knows neither of 'en,
Indifferent in his choice to fleep or die.
But hah! how's this, my fon? why this intrufion? Were not my orders that I would be private ?. Why am I difobey'd?
Alas, my father!
What means this fword? this inftrument of death? Let me convey it hence!
Rafh youth, forbear!
O let the pray'rs, th' intreaties of your friends,
Their tears, their common danger, wreft it from you.
Would't thou betray me? Would'st thou give me up A flave, a captive, into Cæfar's hands?
Retire, and learn obedience to a father,
Or know, young man!.
Look not thus fternly on me;
You know I'd rather die than difobey you,
'Tis well! again I'm mafter of myself.
Now, Cafar, let thy troops befet our gates,
And bar each avenue, thy gathering fleets
O'erfpread the fea, and ftop up ev'ry port;
Cato fhall open to himself a paffage,
And mock thy hopes-
O Sir, forgive your fon,
Whofe griefs hang heavy on him! Omy father!
How am I fure it is not the last time
I e'er fhall call you fo! be not difpleased,
O be not angry with me whilft I weep,
And in the anguish of my heart, beseech you
To quit the dreadful purpose of your foul.
Thou hast been ever good and dutiful.
Weep not, my fon, all will be well again.
The righteous gods, whom I have fought to please,
Will fuccour Cato, and preferve his children.
Your words give comfort to my drooping heart.
Portius, thou may'ft rely upon my conduct.
Thy father will not act what mifbecomes him.
But go, my fon, and fee if aught be wanting
Among thy father's friends; fee them embark'd;
And tell me if the winds and feas befriend them.
My foul is quite weigh'd down with care, and asks