« EelmineJätka »
00 long hath love engross’d Britannia's ftage,
And sunk to softness all our tragic rage:
By that alone, did empires fall or rife,
And fate depended on a fair one's eyes ;
The sweet infection mixt with dangʻrous art,
Debas'd our manhood while it footh'd the heart.
You scorn to raise a grief thyself must blame,
Nor from our weaknefs steal a vulgar fame :
A patriot's fall may juftly melt the mind,
And tears flow nobly, shed for all mankind.
How do our souls with gen'rous pleasure glow,
Our hearts exulting, while our eyes o'erflow,
When thy firm hero stands beneath the weight,
Of all his sufferings, venerably great ;
Rome's poor remains still fhelt'ring by his fide,
With conscious virtue, and becoming pride.
The aged oak thus rears his head in air,
His fap exhausted, and his branches bare,
'Midst storms and earthquakes he maintains his itate,
Fixt deep in earth, and faften'd by his weight:
His naked boughs still fend the shepherds aid,
And his old trunk projects an awful shade.
Amidst the joys triumphant peace bestows,
Our patriots sadden at his glorious woes,
A while they let the world's great business wait,
Anxious for Rome, and sigh for Cato's fate.
Here taught how antient heroes rose to faine,
· Britons crowd, and catch the Roman flame,
Where states and senates well might lend an ear,
And kings and priefts without a blush appear.
France boasts no more, but, fearful to engage,
Now first pays homage to her rival's stage,
Haftes to learn thee, and learning shall submit
Alike to Britib arms, and British wit:
No more she'll wonder, (forc'd to do us right)
Who think like Romans, could like Romans fight.
Thy Oxford smiles this glorious work to fee,
And fondly triumphs in a fon like thee.
The senate, consuls, and the gods of Ronie,
Like old acquaintance at their native home,
In thee we find each deed, each word expreft,
And ev'ry thought that swell'd a Roman breast.
We trace each hint that could thy soul inspire
With Virgil's judgment, and with Lucan's fire ;
We know thy worth, and give us leave to boast,
We most admire, because we know thee moft,
THEN your gen'rous labour first I view'd,
And Cato's hands in his own blood imbru’d;
That scene of death fo terrible
appears, My soul could only thank you
with her fears.
Yet with such wond'rous art your skilful hand
Does all the paflions of the soul command,
'That ev'n my grief to praise and wonder turn'd,
And envy'd the great death which first I mourn'd.
but yours cou'd draw the doubtful ftrife,
Of honour struggling with the love of life?
Describe the patriot, obftinately good,
As hov'ring o'er eternity he ftood:
The wide, th unbounded ocean lay before
His piercing fight, and heav'n the distant fhore.
Secure of endless bliss, with fearless eyes,
He grasps the dagger, and its point defies,
And rushes out of life to snatch the glorious prize.
How would old Rome rejoice to hear you
How just her patriot livéd, how great he fell!
Recount his wondrous probity and truth,
And form new Juba's in the British youth.
Their gen'rous fouls, when he resigns his breath,
Are pleas'd with ruin, and in love with death;
And when her conqu’ring sword Britannia draws,
Resolve to perish or defend her cause.
Now first on Albion's theatre we see,
A perfect image of what man should bę;
The glorious character is now expreft,
Of virtue dwelling in a human breast,
Drawn at full length by your immortal lines,
In Cato's soul, as in her heav'n, she shines.
All Souls College,
DIGBY COTES: Oxon.
Left with the Printer by an unknown Hand.
OW we may speak, since Caro speaks no more ;
'Tis praise at length,'twas rapture all before ;
When crowded theatres with lös rung
Sent to the skies from whence thy genius sprung:
Ev’n civil rage a while in thine was loft ;
And factions strove but to applaud thee most;
Ner could enjoyment pall our longing tafte ;
But every night was dearer than the last.
As when old Rome in a malignant hour
Depriv'd of some returning conqueror,
Her debt of triumph to the dead discharg'd,
For fame, for treasure, and her bounds enlarg’d:
And while his godlike figure mov'd along,
Alternate passions fir'd th' adoring throng; (tongue.
Tears flow'd from ev'ry eye, and shouts from ev'ry
So in thy pompous lines has Cato far'd,
Grac'd with an ample, though a late reward:
A greater victor we in him revere ;
A nobler triumph crowns his image here.
With wonder, as with pleasure, we furvey
A theme fo scanty wrought into a play;
So vast a pile no such foundations plac'd;
Like Ammon's temple rear'd in Lybia's wafte :
Behold its glowing paint! its easy weight!
Its nice proportions! and stupendous height !
How chaste the conduct! how divine the rage!
A Romun worthy of a Grecian ftage!
But where shall Cato's praise begin or end;
Inclin'd to melt, and yet untaught to bend,
The firmest patriot, and the gentlest friend?
How great his genius, when the traitor croud
Ready to strike the blow their fury vowd;
Quell’d by his look and list’ning to his lore,
Learn like his passions to rebel no more!
When, laviin of his boiling blood, to prove
The cure of Navish life, and lighted love,
Brave Marcus now in early death appears;
While Cata counts his wounds, and not his
Who, checking private grief, the public mourns,
Commands the pity he fo greatly fcorns.
But when he strikes (to crown his generous part)
That honeft, staunch, impracticable heart;
No tears, no fobs pursue his parting breath ;
The dying Roman shames the
of death. facred freedom, which the powers bestow
in blessings, and to foften woe ;