Page images

Dec. A style like this becomes a conqueror.
Cato. Decius, a style like this becomes a Roman.

Dec. What is a Roman, that is Cæsar's foe? Cato. Greater than Cæsar: he's a friend to virtue.

Dec. Consider, Cato, you're in Utica,
And at the head of your own little senate ;
You don't now thunder in the capitol,
With all the mouths of Rome to second you.

Cato. Let him consider that who drives us hither.
'Tis Cæsar's sword has made Rome's senate little,
And thinn'd its ranks. Alas ! thy dazzled eye
Beholds this man in a false glaring light;
Which conquest and success have thrown upon him;
Did'st thou but view him right, thou’dst see him black
With murder, treason, sacrilege, and crimes,
That strike my soul with horror but to name 'em.
I know thou look'st on me, as on a wretch
Beset with ills, and cover'd with misfortunes;
But, by the gods I swear, millions of worlds
Shou'd never buy me to be like that Cæsar.

Dec. Does Cato send this answer back to Cæsar, For all his gen'rous cares and proffer'd friendship

Cato. His cares for me are insolent and vain:
Presumptuous man! the gods take care of Cato.
Wou'd Cæsar shew the greatnesa us sot
Bid him employ his care for
And make good use of
By shelt'ring men

Dec. Your
You are

But I have done. When I relate hereafter
The tale of this unhappy embassy
All Rome will be in tears.

[Exit Decius.
Sem. Cato, we thank thee.
The mighty genius of immortal Rome,
Speaks in thy voice; thy soul breathes liberty.
Cæsar will shrink to hear the words thou utter'st,
And shudder in the midst of all his conquests.

Luc. The senate owns its gratitude to Cato, Who with so great a soul consults its safety, And guards our lives while he neglects his own.

Sem. Sempronius gives no thanks on this account.
Lucius seems fond of life; but what is life?
'Tis not to stalk about, and draw fresh air
From time to time, or gaze upon
'Tis to be free. When liberty is gone,
Life grows insipid, and has lost its relish.
Oh, could my dying hand but lodge a sword
In Cæsar's bosom, and revenge my country!
By heav'ns I could enjoy the pangs of death,
And smile in agony.

Luc. Others, perhaps,
May serve their country with as warm a zeal,
Though 'tis not kindled into so much rage.

Sem. This sober conduct is a mighty virtue
In lukewarm patriots.

Cato. Come; no more, Sempronius,
All here are friends to Rome, and to each other.
Let us not weaken still the weaker side
By our divisions.

the sun;

Sem. Cato, my resentments
Are sacrific'd to Rome-I stand reprov'd.

Cato. Father's, 'tis time you come to a resolve.

Luc. Cato, we all go into your opinion, Cæsar's behaviour has convinc'd the senate We ought to hold it out till terms arrive.

Sem. We ought to hold it out till death; but, Cato,
My private voice is drown'd amidst the senate's.

Cato. Then let us rise, my friends, and strive to fill
This little interval, this pause of life
(While yet our liberty and fates are doubtful)
With resolution, friendship, Roman bravery,
And all the virtues we can crowd into it;
That Heav'nı may say it ought to be prolong'd.
Fathers, farewell—The young Numidian prince
Comes forward, and expects to know our counsels.

[Exeunt Senators.

Enter JUBA.
Juba, the Roman senate has resolvid,
Till time give better prospects, still to keep
The sword unsheath'd, and turn its edge on Cæsar.

Jub. The resolution fits a Roman senate.
But, Cato, lend me for a while thy patience,
And condescend to hear a young man speak..
My father, when, some days before his death,
He order'd me to march for Utica,
(Alas! I thought not then his death so near!)
Wept o'er me, press'd me in his aged arms,
And, as his griefs gave way, My son, said lie,

[ocr errors]

Whatever fortune shall befall thy father,
Be Cato's friend; he'll train thee up to great
And virtuous deeds; do but observe him well,
Thou'lt shun misfortunes, or thou'lt learn to bear 'em.

Cato. Juba, thy father was a worthy prince,
And merited, alas! a better fate ;
But Heav'n thought otherwise.

Jub. My father's fate,
In spite of all the fortitude that shines
Before my face in Cato's great example,
Subdues my soul, and fills my eyes with tears.

Cato. It is an honest sorrow, and becomes thee.

Jub. My father drew respect from foreign climes: The kings of Afric sought him for their friend; “ Kings far remote, that rule, as fame reports, “ Behind the hidden sources of the Nile, “ In distant worlds, on t'other side the sun;' Oft have their black ambassadors appear'd, Loaden with gifts, and fill'd the courts of Zama.

Cato. I am no stranger to thy father's greatness.

Jub. I would not boast the greatness of my father, But point out new alliances to Cato. Had we not better leave this Utica, To arm Numidia in our cause, and court The assistance of my father's powerful friends; Did they know Cato, our remotest kings, Would

pour embattled multitudes about him ; "Their swarthy hosts would darken all our plains, Doubling the native horror of the war, And making death more grim.


Cato. And canst thou think
Cato will fly before the sword of Cæsar!
Reduc'd, like Hannibal, to seek relief
From court to court, and wander up and down
A vagabond in Afric.

Jub. Cato, perhaps
I'm too officious; but my forward cares
Wou'd fain preserve a life of so much value.
My heart is wounded, when I see such virtue
Amicted by the weight of such misfortunes.

Cato. Thy nobleness of soul obliges me.
But know, young prince, that valour soars above
What the world calls misfortune and affliction.
These are not ills; else would they never fall
On Heav'n's first fav’rites and the best of men.
The gods, in bounty, work up storms about us,
That give mankind occasion to exert
Their hidden strength, and throw out into practice
Virtues that shun the day, and lie conceal'd
In the smooth seasons and the calms of life.
Jub. I'm charm'd whene'er thou talk'st ; I pant

for virtue ; And all my soul endeavours at perfection. Cato. Dost thou love watchings, abstinence, and

toil, Laborious virtues all? Learn them from Cato; Success and fortune must thou learn from Cæsar.

Jub. The best good fortune that can fall on Juba, The whole success at which my heart aspires Depends on Cato.

« EelmineJätka »