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But to the gods submit th' event of things.
Our lives, discolour'd with our present woes,
May still grow bright, and smile with happier hours.
ACT II. SCENE I.
The Senate. LUCIUS, SEMPRONIUS, and Senators.
ROME still survives in this assembled senate!
Let us remember we are Cato's friends,
And act like men who claim that glorious title.
[d sound of trumpets.
May all the guardian gods of Rome direct him!
Cato. Fathers, we once again are met in council : Cæsar's approach has summon'd us together, And Rome attends her fate from our resolves.
How shall we treat this bold aspiring man?
Success still follows him, and backs his crimes;
And Scipio's death? Numidia's burning sands
Still smoke with blood. 'Tis time we should decree What course to take.
Our foe advances on us,
And envies us even Lybia's sultry desarts.
Fathers, pronounce your thoughts: are they still fix'd To hold it out and fight it to the last?
Or are your hearts subdu'd at length, and wrought By time, and ill success, to a submission ? Sempronius, speak.
Sem. My voice is still for war.
Gods! can a Roman senate long debate
May reach his heart, and free the world from bondage.
Or share their fate! The corpse of half her senate
If we should sacrifice our lives to honour,
Point at their wounds, and cry aloud-To battle!
That justice warrants, and that wisdom guides,
Already have our quarrels fill'd the world
With widows, and with orphans: Scythia mourns
The gods declare against us, and repel
Our vain attempts. "To urge the foe to battle,
We took up arms, not to revenge ourselves,
But free the commonwealth: when this end fails,
That drew our swords, now wrests 'em from our hands,
And bids us not delight in Roman blood
"Sem. This smooth discourse, and mild behaviour,
"Conceal a traitor-something whispers me "All is not right-Cato, beware of Lucius."
[Aside to Cato.
Cato. Let us appear nor rash nor diffident;
Are grown thus desp'rate: we have bulwarks roundus;
In its full length, and spin it to the last,
Marc. Fathers, this moment, as I watch'd the gate, Lodg'd on my post, a herald is arriv'd
From Cæsar's camp, and with him comes old Decius, The Roman knight; he carries in his looks Impatience, and demands to speak with Cato.
Cato. By your permission, fathers-bid him enter. [Exit Marcus. Decius was once my friend, but other prospects. Have loos'd those ties, and bound him fast to Cæsar. His message may determine our resolves.
Dec. Cæsar sends health to Cato
Cato. Cou'd he send it,
To Cato's slaughter'd friends, it would be welcome. Are not your orders to address the senate?
Dec. My business is with Cato; Cæsar sees
The straits 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. Wou'd he save Cato, bid him spare his country. Tell your dictator this; and tell him, Cato Disdains a life which he has power to offer.