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How thy account may stand, and what to answer?
Cal. I have turned my eyes inward upon myself,
Where foul offence and shame have laid all waste;
Therefore my soul abhors the wretched dwelling,
That dwelt in antient Latian breasts, when Rome
Cal. Then spare the telling, if it be a pain, And write the meaning with your poignard here. Sci. Oh! truly guessed-sce'st thou, this trembling hand- [Holding up a dagger. Thrice justice urged-and thrice the slackening sinews
Forgot their office, and confessed the father.
And know the rest untaught!
[She offers to kill herself: Sciolto catches
hold of her arm.
Sci. A moment, give me yet a moment's space. The stern, the rigid judge has been obeyed; Now nature, and the father, claim their turns. I've held the balance with an iron hand, And put off every tender human thought, To doom my child to death; but spare my eyes The most unnatural sight, lest their strings crack,
My old brain split, and I grow mad with horror! Cal. Ha! Is it possible! and is there yet Some little dear remain of love and tenderness For poor, undone Calista, in your heart!
Sei. Oh! when I think what pleasure I took in thee,
What joys thou gavest me in thy prattling in
Sci. Would it were otherwise--but thou must die.
Cal. That I must die, it is my only comfort; Death is the privilege of human nature, And life without it were not worth our taking: Thither the poor, the prisoner, and the mourner, Fly for relief, and lay their burthens down. Come then, and take me into thy cold arms, Thou meagre shade; here let me breathe my last,
Charmed with my father's pity and forgiveness, More than if angels tuned their golden viols, And sung a requiem to my parting soul.
Sci. I am summoned hence; ere this my friends expect me.
There is I know not what of sad presage, That tells me, I shall never see thee more; If it be so, this is our last farewell, And these the parting pangs, which nature feels, When anguish rends the heart-strings-Oh, my daughter! [Erit Sciolto.
Cal. Now think, thou cursed Calista! now behold
The desolation, horror, blood, and ruin,
How blind with passions, and how prone to evil,
Nothing but blood can make the expiation,
And see, another injured wretch is come, To call for justice from my tardy hand.
Alt. Hail to you, horrors! hail, thou house of death!
And thou, the lovely mistress of the shades, Whose beauty gilds the more than midnight dark
I bore my load of infamy with patience,
Cal. Oh, Altamont! 'tis hard for souls like
Haughty and fierce, to yield they've done amiss.
Alt. Then happiness is still within our reach.
Cal. What! in death?
Alt. Then, art thou fixed to die?-But be it so; We'll go together; my adventurous love Shall follow thee to those uncertain beings. Whether our lifeless shades are doomed to wander
In gloomy groves, with discontented ghosts; Or whether through the upper air we flit, And tread the fields of light; still I'll pursue thee, "Till fate ordains that we shall part no more. Cal. Oh, no! Heaven has some other better lot in store
To crown thee with. Live, and be happy long; Live, for some maid that shall deserve thy good
Some kind, unpractised heart, that never yet
Nor known the arts of ours; she shall reward thee,
Meet thee with virtues equal to thy own, Charm thee with sweetness, beauty, and with truth;
Be blest in thee alone, and thou in her.
Hor. Now, mourn indeed, ye miserable pair;
The great, the good Sciolto dies this moment.
Alt. That's a deadly stroke, indeed.
Hor. Not long ago he privately went forth, Attended but by few, and those unbidden. I heard which way he took, and straight pursued him;
But found him compassed by Lothario's faction, Almost alone, amidst a croud of foes.
Too late we brought him aid, and drove them
Fre that, his frantic valour had provoked
But at that beauty must of force relented,
Come near, and let me bless thee, ere I die,
For thou hast been my son-Oh, gracious Heaven!
Let grief, disgrace, and want be far away;
Let honour, greatness, goodness, still be with him,
Por. THE dawn is overcast, the morning lowers, And heavily in clouds brings on the day; The great, the important day, big with the fate Of Cato and of Rome. Our father's death Would fill up all the guilt of civil war, And close the scene of blood. Already Cæsar Has ravaged more than half the globe, and sees Mankind grown thin by his destructive sword : Should he go farther, numbers would be wanting To form new battles, and support his crimes. Ye gods, what havock does ambition make Among your works!
Marc. Thy steady temper, Portius, Can look on guilt, rebellion, fraud, and Cæsar, In the calm lights of mild philosophy; I'm tortured, even to madness, when I think On the proud victor: every time he's named, Pharsalia rises to my view!-I see
His horse's hoofs wet with patrician blood!
Por. Believe me, Marcus, 'tis an impious great
And mixed with too much horror to be envied; How does the lustre of our father's actions, Through the dark cloud of ills that cover him, Break out, and burn with more triumphant brightness!
His sufferings shine, and spread a glory round him;
Greatly unfortunate, he fights the cause
The insulting tyrant prancing o'er the field, Against a world, a base, degenerate world, Strewed with Rome's citizens, and drenched in That courts the yoke, and bows the neck to Ca
The ways of Heaven are dark and intricate,
Marc. These are suggestions of a mind at ease: Oh, Portius, didst thou taste but half the griefs That wring my soul, thou couldst not talk thus coldly.
Passion unpitied, and successless love,
But I must hide it, for I know thy temper.
Now, Marcus, now thy virtue's on the proof:
Marc. Portius, the counsel which I cannot take,
Instead of healing, but upbraids my weakness.
Por. Behold young Juba, the Numidian prince,
When most it swells, and labours for a vent,
Marc. Portius, no more! your words leave
Whene'er did Juba, or did Portius, shew
Fling but the appearance of dishonour on it,
Por. Heaven knows I pity thee! Behold my
Even whilst I speak-do they not swim in tears? Were but my heart as naked to thy view, Marcus would see it bleed in his behalf.
Marc. Why then dost treat me with rebukes, instead
Of kind condoling cares, and friendly sorrow? Por. Oh, Marcus! did I know the way to ease Thy troubled heart, and mitigate thy pains, Marcus, believe me, I could die to do it.
Marc. Thou best of brothers, and thou best of friends!
Pardon a weak distempered soul, that swells
Sem. Conspiracies no sooner should be formed Than executed. What means Portius here? I like not that cold youth. I must dissemble, And speak a language foreign to my heart. [Aside. Good-morrow, Portius; let us once embrace, Once more embrace, while yet we both are free. To-morrow, should we thus express a friendship, Each might receive a slave into his arms. This sun, perhaps, this morning's sun's the last, That e'er shall rise on Roman liberty.
Por. My father has this morning called toge ther
To this poor hall, his little Roman senate,
Sem. Not all the pomp and majesty of Rome
Could I but call that wondrous man my father,
To Marcia, whilst her father's life's in danger?
When she beholds the holy flame expiring.