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At once the frown of war, and stern defiance?
Will not each look recall the fond remembrance
Of childhood past, when the whole open soul
Breath'd cordial love, and plighted many a vow
Of tend'rest import i Think on that, young soldier,
And tell me if thy breast be still unmov'd ?
Pub. Think not, oh, king, howe'er resolu'd on
I sit so loosely to the bonds of nature,
As not to feel their force. I feel it strongly.
I love the Curiatii, and would serve them
At life's expence : but here a nobler cause
Demands my sword : for all connections else,
All private duties are subordinate
To what we owe the public. Partial ties
Of son and father, husband, friend or brother,
Owe their enjoyments to the public safety,
And without that were vain.-Nor need we, sir,
Cast off humanity, and to be heroes
Cease to be men. As in our earliest days,
While yet we learn’d the exercise of war,
We strove together, not as enemies,
Yet conscious each of his peculiar worth,
And scorning each to yield; so will we now
Engage with ardent, not with hostile minds,
Not fir'd with rage, but emulous of fame.
Tullus. Now I dare trust thee; go and teach thy
brothers to think like thee, and conquest is your own.
is is true courage, not the brutal force
Of vulgar heroes, but the firm resolve
Of virtue and of reason. He who thinks
Without their aid to shine in deeds of arms,
Builds on a sandy basis his renown;
A dream, a vapour, or an ague fit
May make a coward of him.-Come, Horatius,
Thy other sons shall meet thee at the camp,
For now I do bethink me, 'tis not fit
They should behold their sister thus alarm’d.
Haste, soldier, and detain them. [To one of the guards,
Horatius. Gracious sir,
We'll follow on the instant.
Tullus. Then farewell.
When next we meet, 'tis Rome and liberty!
[Exit with guards. Horatius. Come, let me arm thee for the glorious
I have a sword, whose lightning oft has blaz’d
Dreadfully fatal to my country's foes ;
Whose temper'd edge has cleft their haughty crests,
And stain'd with life-blood many a reeking plain.
This shalt thou bear; myself will gird it on,
And lead thee forth to death or victory. [Going
And yet, my Publius, shall I own my weakness;
Though I detest the cause from whence they spring,
I feel thy sister's sorrows like a father.
She was my soul's delight.
Pub. And may remain so.
This sudden shock has but alarm’d her virtue,
Not quite subdued its force. At least, my father,
Time's lenient hand will teach her to endure
The ills of chance, and reason conquer love.
Horatius. Should we not see her?
Pub. By no means, my lord;
You heard the king's commands about my brothers,
And we have hearts as tender sure as they.
Might I advise, you should confine her closely,
Lest she infect the matrons with her grief,
And bring a stain we should not wish to fix
On the Horatian name.
Horatius. It shall be so.
We'll think no more of her. 'Tis glory calls,
And humbler passions beat alarms in vain. [Exid.
As HORATIUS goes off, HORATIA enters at another
Horatia. Where is soy brotheri-Oh, my dearest
If e'er you lov'd Ilaratia, ever felt
That tenderness which you have seem'd to feel,
Oh, hear her now !
Pub. What wouldst thou, my Horatia ?
Horatia. I know not what I would I'm on the rack, Despair and madness tear my lab’ring soul. -And yet, my brother, sure you might relieve me. Pub. How ! by what means ? By Heaven, l'll die
Expect it from thee. Pr’ythee, look more kindly.
-- And yet, is the request so very hard ?
I only ask thee not to plunge thy sword
Into the breast thou lov'st, not kill thy friend;
Is that so hard in might have said thy brother.
Pub. What canst thou meani Beware, beware,
Thou know'st I dearly love thee, nay, thou know'st
I love the man with whom I must engage.
Yet hast thou faintly read thy brother's soul,
If thou canst think intreaties have the power,
Though urg'd with all the tenderness of tears,
To shake his settled purpose : they may make
My task more hard, and my soul bleed within me,
But cannot touch my virtue.
Horatia. 'Tis not virtue
Which contradiés our nature, 'tis the rage
Of over-weening pride. Has Rome no champions
She could oppose but you? Are there not thousands
As warm for glory, and as tried in arms,
Who might without a crime aspire to conquest,
Or die with honest fame?
Pub. Away, away!
Talk to thy lover thus. But 'tis not Caius
Thou wouldst have infamous.
Horatia. Oh, kill me not
With such unkind reproaches. Yes, I own
I love him, more
Pub. Than a chaste Roman maid
Should dare confess.
Horatia. Should dare! What means my brother? I had my father's sanction on my love, And duty taught me first to feel its power. -Should dare confess !-Is that the dreadful crime? Alas, but spare him, spare thy friend, Horatius, And I will cast him from my breast for ever. Will that oblige thee ? -_" Only let him die “ By other hands, and I will learn to hate him." Pub. Why wilt thou talk thus madly? Love him
still! And if we fall the vi&tims of our country, (Which Heav'n avert!) wed, and enjoy him freely. Horatia. Oh, never, never. What, my country's
bane! The murderer of my brothers! may the gods First “tear me, blast me, scatter me on winds, " And” pour out each unheard-of vengeance on mel
Pub. Do not torment thyself thus idly-Go, Compose thyself, and be again my sister.
Re-enter HORATIUS, with the Sword. Horatius. This sword in Veii's field-What dost
thou here? Leave him, I charge thee, girl---Come, come, my
Let's haste where duty calls.
Horatia. What I to the field?
He must not, shall not go; here will I hang-
Oh, if you have not quite cast off affection!
"ou detest not your distracted sister