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Success still follows him, and backs his crimes ;
gave him Rome, Egypt has since
Sem. My voice is still for war. Gods! can a Roman senate long debate Which of the two to choose, slav'ry or death! No, let us rise at once, gird on our swords, And at the head of our remaining troops, Attack the foe, break through the thick array Of his throng'd legions, and charge home upon him. Perhaps some arm, more lucky than the rest, May reach his heart, and free the world from bondage. Rise, fathers, rise! 'Tis Rome demands your help: Rise, and revenge her slaughter'd citizens, Or share their fate! The corpse of half her senate Manure the fields of Thessaly, while we Sit here delib'rating in cold debates, If we should sacrifice our lives to honour, Or wear them out in servitude and chains, Rouse up, for shamel our brothers of Pharsalia
Point at their wounds, and cry aloud-To battle ! Great Pompey's shade complains that we are slow; And Scipio's ghost walks unreveng'd amongst us.
Cato. Let not a torrent of impetuous zeal Transport thee thus beyond the bounds of reason : True fortitude is seen in great exploits That justice 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 intrusted to our care? Should we thus lead them to a field of slaughter, Might not th' 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 ? Luc. My thoughts, I must confess, 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 remotest regions Lie half unpeopled by the feuds of Rome : 'Tis time to sheath the sword, and spare mankind. It is not Cæsar, 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 rest in Heaven's determination." Already have we shewn our love to Rome, Now let us shew submission to the gods.
We took up arms, not to revenge ourselves,
hands, And bids us not delight in Roman blood Unprofitably shed. What men could do, Is done already : heav'n and earth will witness, If Rome must fall, that we are innocent. “ Sem. This smooth discourse, and mild behaviour,
oft “ 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; Immod’rate valour swells into a fault; And fear admitted into public councils Betrays like treason. Let us shun 'em both. Fathers, I cannot see that our affairs Are grown thus desp'rate: we have bulwarksround us; Within our walls are troops inur'd to toil In Afric's heat, and season'd to the sun; Numidia's spacious kingdom lies behind us, Ready to rise at its young prince's call. While there is hopes, do not distrust the gods ; But wait at least till Cæsar's near approach Force us to yield. 'Twill never be too late To sue for chains, and own a conqueror. Why should Rome fall a moment ere her time; No, let us draw her term of freedom out
In its full length, and spin it to the last,
Enter MARCUS, Marc. Fathers, this moment, as I watch'd the gate, Lodgid 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.
Cato. Cou'd he send it,
Dec. My business is with Cato; Cæsar sees
Dec. Rome and her senators submit to Cæsar; Her gen’rals and her consuls are no more, Who check'd his conquests, and deny'd his triumphs. Why will not Cato be this Cæsar's friend?
Cato. These very reasons thou has urg'd forbid it.
Dec. Cato, I have orders to expostulate,
Cato. No more :
Dec. Cæsar is well acquainted with your virtues,
Cato. Bid him disband his legions,
Dec. Cato, the world talks loudly of your wisdom-
To clear the guilty, and to varnish crimes,