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The strong, the brave, the virtuous, and the wise
Sink in the soft captivity together.
I would not urge thee to dismiss thy passion,
(I know 'twere vain) but to fupprefs its force,
Till better times may make it look more graceful.
M A R CUS.
Alas ; thou talk'st like one who never felt
Th' impatient throbs and longings of a foul,
That pants, and reaches after diftant good.
A lover does not live by vulgar time:
Believe me, Portius, in my
Life hangs upon me, and becomes a burthen ;
And yet, when I behold the charming maid,
I'm ten times more undone ; while hope and fear,
And grief, and rage, and love, rise up at once,
And with variety of pain diftract me.
PORT I U S.
What can thy Portius do to give thee help?
M A R CU S.
Portius, thou oft enjoy it the fair one's presence :
Then undertake my cause, and plead it to her
With all the strength and heat of eloquence,
Fraternal love and friendship can inspire.
Tell her, thy brother languishes to death,
And fades away, and withers in his bloom;
That he forgets his sleep, and loaths his food,
That youth, and health, and war are joyless to him:
Describe his anxious, days, and restless nights,
And all the torments that thou seeft me suffer.
PORT I US.
Marcus, I beg thee give me not an office,
That suits with me so ill. Thou know it
M A R CU S.
Wilt thou behold me sinking in my woes?
And wilt thou not reach out a friendly arm,
To raise me from amidst this plunge of sorrows ?
Marcus, thou canst not ask what I'd refuse.
But here, believe me, I've a thousand reasons
M A RRC U S.
I know thou'lt say my passion's out of season,
That Cato's great example and misfortunes
Shou'd both conspire to drive it from my thoughts.
But what's all this to one who loves like me!
Oh Portius, Portius, from my soul I wish
Thou didft but know thyself what 'tis to love!
Then wouldst thou pity and assist thy brother.
What should I do! if I disclose my passion
Our friendship's at an end: if I conceal it,
The world will call me a false friend and brother. (Afde.
M A R CU S.
But see where Lucia, at her wonted hour,
Amid the cool of yon high marble arch,
Enjoys the noon-day breeze! observe her, Portius ! That face, that shape, those eyes, that heav'n of beauty Observe her well, and blame me if thou canst.
PORT I U S.
She sees us, and advances
And leave you
for a while. Remember, Portius! Thy brother's life depends upon thy tongue.
Did I not see your brother Marcus here?
Why did he fly the place, and shun my presence?
PORT IU S.
Oh, Lucia, language is too faint to fhew
His rage of love; it preys upon his life ;
He pines, he fickens, he despairs, he dies:
His passions and his virtues lie confused,
And mixt together in so wild a tumult,
That the whole man is quite disfigur’d in him.
Heav'ns! would one think 'twere possible for love
To make such ravage in a noble soul !
Oh, Lucia, I'm distress'd! my heart bleeds for him ;
Even now, while thus I stand blest in thy presence,
A secret damp of grief comes o'er iny thoughts,
And I'm unhappy, tho' thou finilift
How wilt thou guard thy honour, in the shock
Of love and friendship! think betimes, my Portius,
Think how the nuptial tie, that might enfure
Our mutual bliss, would raise to such a height
Thy brother's griefs, as might perhaps destroy him.
Alas, poor youth! what dost thou think, my Lucia ?
His generous, open, undesigning heart
Has begg'd his rival to solicit for him.
Then do not strike him dead with a denial,
But hold him up in life, and cheer his soul
With the faint glimmering of a doubtful hope:
Perhaps when we have pass’d these gloomy hours,
And weatherd out the storm that beats upon us-
No, Portius, no! I see thy sister's tears,
Thy father's anguish, and thy brother's death,
In the pursuit of our ill-fated loves.
And, Portius, here I swear, to heav'n I swear,
To heav'n, and all the powers that judge mankind,
Never to mix my plighted hands with thine,
While such a cloud of mischief hangs about us,
But to forget our loves, and drive thee out
From all my thoughts, as far—as I am able.
PORT I U S.
What hast thou said! I'm thunder-struck- -recal
Those hafty words, or I am loft for ever.
Has not the vow already pass'd my lips?
The gods have heard it, and’ris seald in heav'n.
May all the vengeance, that was ever pour’d
On perjur'd heads, o'erwhelm me, if I break it!
Fixt in astonishment, I gaze upon thee;
Like one just blasted by a stroke from heav'n,
Who pants for breath, and stiffens, yet alive,
In dreadful looks: a monument of wrath!
At length I've acted my severeft part,
I feel the woman breaking in upon me,
And melt about my heart! my tears will flow.
< But oh I'll think no more! the hand of fate
• Has torn thee from me, and I muft forget thee.
PORTIUS. • Hard-hearted, cruel maid !
LUCI A. • Oh ftop those sounds, • Those killing sounds! why dost thou frown upon me? • My blood runs cold, my heart forgets to heave, • And life itself goes out at thy displeafure.