« EelmineJätka »
Of armies flush'd with conquest. Omy Portius,
Could I but call that wondrous man my father,
Wou'd but thy fifter Marcia be propitious
To thy friend's vows, I might be bless’d indeed!
Alas! Sempronius, wou'dft thou talk of love
To Marcia, whilft her father's life's in danger?
Thou might'st as well court the pale trembling vestal,
When the beholds the holy flame expiring,
The more I see the wonders of thy race,
The more I'm charm’d. Thou inuit take heed, my
The world has all its eyes on Ca:o's fon,
Thy father's, merit sets thee up to view,
And shews thee in the fairest point of light,
To make thy virtues, or thy faults, contpicuous.
Well doft thou seem to check my ling'ring here
On thiş jinportant hour'll ftrait away,
And while the fathers of the fenate meet
clofe debate to weigh th’ events of war, I'll animate the soldiers drooping courage, With love of freedom, and contempt of life : I'll thunder in their ears their country's cause, And try to rouse up all that's Roman in 'em. 'Tis not in mortals to command fuccess, But we'll do more, Sempronius ; we'll deserve it. [Exit.
Curse on the strippling! how he apes his fire?
Ambitiously fententious! but I wonder
Old Syphax comes not; his Numidian genius
Is well disposed to mischief, were he prompt
And eager on it; but he must be spurr'd,
And ev'ry moment quicken'd to the course.
-Cato has us'd me ill: He has refused
His daughter Marcia to my ardent vows.
Besides, his baffled arms and ruin'd caufe
Are bars to my ambition. Cafar's 'favour,
That show'rs down greatness on his friends, will raise
To Rome's first honours. If I give up Cato,
I claim in iny reward his captive daughter.
But Syphax comes !-
Sr P H A X.
Sempronius, all is ready, I've founded
Numidians, man by man,
And find 'em ripe for a revolt: They all
Complain aloud of Cato's discipline,
And wait but the command to change their master.-
Believe me, Syphax, there's no time to waste;
Even whilft we speak our conqueror comeson,
And gathers ground upon us ev'ry moment.
Alas! thou know'st not Cæsar's active soul,
With what a dreadful course he rushes on
From war to war: In vain has nature form’d
Mountains and oceans to oppose his passage ;
He bounds o'er all, victorious in his march ;
The Alps and Pyreneans sink before him,
Through winds and waves, and storms he works his way
Impatient for the battle : One day more
Will set the victor thund'ring at our gates.
But tell me, haft thou yet drawn o'er young Juba ?
That still would recommend thee more to Cæfar,
And challenge better terms.
Sr P H A X.
Alas he's lost,
He's loft, Sempronius; all his thoughts are full
Of Cato's virtues. -but I'll try once more
(For ev'ry instant I expect hiin here)
If yet I can subdue those stubborn principles
Of faith, of honour, and I know not what,
That have corrupted his Numidian teinper,
And struck th' infection into all his soul.
Be sure to press upon him ev'ry motive.
Juba's surrender, since his father's death,
Would give up Africk into Cafar's hands,
And make him lord of half the burning zone.
Sr P H A X.
But is it true, Sempronius, that your fenate
Is calls together! gods! thou must be cautious !
Cato has piercing eyes, and will discern
Our frauds, unless they're cover'd thick with art.
SEM PRO N IU S.
Let me alone, good Syphax, I'll conceal
My thoughts in passion, ('tis the furest way :)
P'll bellow out for Ronie and for my country,
And mouth at Cæfar 'till I shake the senate.
Your cold hypocrisy's a stale dev'ce,
A worn-out trick: would'st thou be thought in earnest?
Clothe thy feign’d zeal in rage, in fire, in fury!
Sr P H A X,
In troth, thou’rt able to instruct grey hairs,
And teach the wily African deceit !
Once more, be fure to try thy skill on Juba.
Mean while P'll haften to my Roman soldiers,
Inflame the mutiny, and underhand
Blow up their discontents, 'till they break out
Unlook'd for, and discharge themselves on Cato.
Remember, Syphax, we must work in haste:
O think what anxious moments pass between
'The birth of plots, and their last fatal periods.
Oh! 'tis a dreadful interval of time,
Filld up with horror all, and big with death!
Destruction hangs on ev'ry word we speak,
On ev'ry thought, till the concluding stroke
Determines all, and clofes our defign.
I'll try if yet I can reduce to reason
This head-ftrong youth, and make hiin spurn at Cato.
The time is short, Cæfar comes rufhing on us
But hold! young Juba sees me, and approachesa
J U BA, SyP H A X.
Syphax, I joy to meet thee thus alone.
I have observed of late thy looks are fallin,
Oercast with gloomy cares and discontent ;
Then tell me, Syphax, I conjure thee, tell me,
What are the thoughts that knit thy brow in frowns,
And turn thine eyes thus coldly on thy prince?
Sr P H A X.
'Tis not my talent to conceal my thoughts,
Or carry smiles and fun-fhine in my face,
When discontent fits heavy at my heart.
I have not yet fo much the Roman in me.
Why dost thou cast out such ungen'rous terms
Against the lords and sov'reigns of the world?
Doft thou not fee mankind fall down before them,
And own the force of their fuperior virtue ?
Is there a nation in the wilds of Afric,