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Let not a torrent of impetuous zeal

Tranfport thee thus beyond the bounds of reafon :
True fortitude is seen in great exploits

That juftice warrants, and that wisdom guides,
All elfe is tow'ring frenzy and distraction.

Are not the lives of those who draw the sword
In Rome's defence intrufted to our care?

Should we thus lead them to a field of flaughter,
Might not the impartial world with reason say
We lavish'd at our deaths the blood of thousands,
To grace our fall, and make our ruin glorious?
Lucius, we next would know what's your opinion.

My thoughts, I must confefs, are turn'd on peace.
Already have our quarrels fill'd the world

With widows and with orphans: Scythia mourns
Our guilty wars, and earth's remotest regions
Lie half unpeopled by the feuds of Rome:
'Tis time to fheath the fword, and fpare mankind.
It is not Cæfar, but the gods, my fathers,

The gods declare against us, and repel

Our vain attempts. To urge the foe to battle,
(Prompted by blind revenge and wild despair)
Were to refuse th' awards of providence,
And not to reft in heav'n's determination.
Already have we fhewn our love to Rome,
Now let us fhew fubmiffion to the gods.
We took up arms, not to revenge ourselves,
• VOL. II.


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But free the commonwealth; when this end fails,
Arms have no further use: our country's cause
That drew our fwords, now wrefts 'em from our hands,
And bids us not delight in Roman blood,

Unprofitably fhed; what men could do

Is done already: heav'n and earth will witness,
If Rome muft fall, that we are innocent.


This fmooth difcourfe and mild behaviour oft... Conceal a traitor-fomething whispers me

All is not right--Cato, beware of Lucius. [Afide to Cato.


Let us appear not rash nor diffident

Immod'rate valour fwells into a fault- ;.
And fear, admitted into public councils,

Betrays like treafon. Let us fhun 'em both

Fathers, I cannot fee that our affairs

Are grown thus defp'rate, we have bulwarks round us:.
Within our walls are troops inur'd to toil

In Afric's heats, and feafch'd to the fun;
Numidia's fpacious kingdom lies behind us,
Ready to rife at its young prince's call.
While there is hope, do not diftruft the gods;
But wait at leaft 'till Cæfar's near approach
Force us to yield. 'Twill never be too late
To fue for chains, and own a conqueror.
Why Should Rome fall a moment ere her time?
No, let us draw her term of freedom out.

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length, and fpin it to the last,



So fhall we gain ftill one day's liberty;

And let me perish, but, in Cato's judginent,
A day, an hour of virtuous liberty,

Is worth a whole eternity in bondage..



Fathers, this moment, as I watch'd the gates

Lodg'd on my poft, a herald is arrived

From Cæfar's camp, and with him comes old Decius,
The Roman knight; he carries in his looks
Impatience, and demands to fpeak with Cato.


By your permiffion, fathers, bid himn enter.

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[Exit Marcus.

Decius was once my friend, but other profpects

Have loosed those ties, and bound him faft to Cefar.
His meffage may determine our refolves.




Cafar fends health to Cato

Could he fend it


To Cato's flaughter'd friends, it would be welcome.
Are not your orders to addrefs the fenate?

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My bufinefs is with Cato: Cæfar fees

The ftraits, to which you're driven; and, as he knows Cato's high worth, is anxious for your life.


My life is grafted on the fate of Rome :
Would he fave Cato, bid him fpare his country.
Tell your dictator this: and tell him, Cato

Difdains a life, which he has power to offer.

Rome and her fenators fubinit to Cæfar;
Her generals and her confuls are no more,
Who check'd his conquests, and denied his triumphs.
Why will not Cato be this Cæfar's friend?


Thofe very reasons, thou haft urged, forbid it.

Cato, I've orders to expoftulate,

› And reafon with you, as from friend to friend;
Think on the storm that gathers o'er your head,
And threatens ev'ry hour to burst upon it;
Still may you ftand high in your country's honours,
Do but comply and make your peace with Cefar.
Rome will rejoice, and caft its eyes on Cate,
As on the second of mankind.

No more:


I must not think of life on fuch conditions.



Cefar is well acquainted with your virtues,
And therefore fets this value on your life:
Let him but know the price of Cato's friendship,

And name your terms.


Bid him difband his legions,
Reftore the commonwealth to liberty,
Submit his actions to the public cenfure,
And ftand the judgment of a Roman fenate
Bid him do this, and Cato is his friend.


Cato. the world talks loudly of your wifdom-

Nay more, tho' Cato's voice was ne'er employ'd
To clear the guilty, and to varnish crimes,
Myself will mount the Roftrum in his favour,
And strive to gain his pardon from the people.


A ftile, like this, becomes a conqueror.


Decius, a ftile like this, becomes a Roman.


What is a Roman, that is Cæfar's foe.


Greater than Cafar: he's a friend to virtue.

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