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CATO.

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 else 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 slaughter,
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.
LUCIUS.

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 remoteft regions
Lie half unpeopled by the feuds of Rome:
'Tis time to sheath the sword, and spare 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 submission to the gods.
We took
up arms, not to revenge ourselves,
• VOL. II.

F

But

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 shed; what men could do

h

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

SEMPRONIUS.

This smooth difcourfe and mild behaviour oft, N Conceal a traitor-fomething whispers me

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

CATO.

Let us appear not rash nor diffident :
I'mmod'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 feafcn'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 distrust the gods;
But wait at least 'till Cafar'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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So

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.

Enter MARCUS.

MARCUS.

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.
CATO

By your permiffion, fathers, bid himn enter.

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[Exit Marcus. Decius was once my friend, but other profpects Have loofed those ties, and bound him fat to Cefir. His meffage may determine our refolves.

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Could he fend it

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

F 2

DE

DECIUS.

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.

CATO.

My life is grafted on the fate of Rome : Would he fave Cato, bid him spare his country. Tell your dictator this: and tell him, Cato Difdains a life, which he has power to offer. DE CIU S.

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

CATO.

Thofe very reasons, thou haft urged, forbid it.
DECIUS.

Cato, I've orders to expoftulate,

And reason with you, as from friend to friend;
Think on the ftorm that gathers o'er your head,
And threatens ev'ry hour to burst upon it;

Still may you stand high in your country's honours,
Do but comply and make your peace with Cæfar.
Rome will rejoice, and caft its eyes on Cate,

As on the fecond of mankind.

CATO.

No more':

I must not think of life on fuch conditions.

DE

DECIUS.

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.

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CATO.

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

DECIU S.

Cato. the world talks loudly of your wifdom-
CATO.

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

DECIUS:

A ftile, like this, becomes a conqueror.

CATO.

Decius, a ftile like this, becomes a Roman.
DECIUS.

What is a Roman, that is Cæfar's foe.

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

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