« PreviousContinue »
| braver citizen Rome never boasted,
ind wise and learned withal; now changed, alas !
spectacle which humbles me to look on !
Tul. But is he harmless in his moody humours ?
Val. Tame as my horse, which, though devoid of rea-
Shall turn, shall stop, and, at my angry bidding,
Shall kneel till I am thronéd on his back!
And this shall Junius: the like instinct stirs
Junius and him,
Tul. (Apart.] Hence, idle fears!
-Yet, when he went to Delphi, 'tis given out
The oracle addressed him with strange portents,
And each night since, my dreams have been disturbed
By a wild form, too much resembling his,
Leading our soldiers forth with sword and flame,
Revolters from the camp, to storm the palace.
But he is sent from thence, and shall be watched.
Enter HORATIUS, L.
Hor. Your orders are obeyed: Lucius awaits.
Tul. Set him before us.
[To Valerius.] Tell me, will he answer
If we do question him?
Val. I think he will :
Yet sometimes, when the moody fit doth take him,
He will not speak for days; yea, rather starve
Than utter nature's cravings; then, anon
He'll prattle shrewdly, with such witty folly
As almost betters reason.
Horatius returns with LUCIUS JUNIUs.
Tril. Hark thee, fellow,
How art thou called ?
Luc. A fool.
Tul. Fool, for thy nature :
Thou answerest well, but I demand thy name.
Luc. Nothing but fool.
Tul. His faculties are brutish :-
Brutus shall be thy name.
Pru. Thanks to your grace!
Hor. Dost like thy new name, gentle brute ?
Bru. So well,
Who will may take the fool. I care not whom
Your highness, an' it like you.
Hor. I the fool!
Sirrah, good words, or I will have thee beaten.
Bru. A fool thou wilt not beat-a brute thou dar'st nui,
For the dull ass will kick against his striker,
If struck too harshly.
Tul. Let me hear no more ;
There's mischief in his folly. Send him hence.
[Brutus going, r.
But stay—I'll search him farther.-Hark thee, Brutus:
Thou wast at Delphi, with our sons the princes-
Tell me-what questions put they to Apollo?
Bru. Your sons did ask who should be chief in Rome. Tul. Ha ! What replied the oracle to that?
Bru. With pains and strugglings, the prophetic dame This destiny reported from her god
Great and most glorious shall that Roman be, • Who first shall greet his mother with a kiss.'
Tul. That is fulfilled by Sextus. Hor. Ay, he straight Hastened from thence, and kissed the queen his mother,
Bru. Woe for me, I have no mother! And
yet I kissed her first.
Tul. Thou kissed her ? Thou?
Bru. Yea, madam; for just then my foot did slip
In the fresh blood of a new-slaughtered victim,
And, falling, I did kiss my mother-earth.
Tul. Oh, that the earth had swallowed thee outright,
Till thou hadst kissed the centre! I perceive,
The gods are leagued with folly to destroy us.
My very blood chills at my heart.-Away!
(Exit Tullia, Guards and Ladies, rapidly, R. and L. Hor. Hark thee, thou Brutus :--I in part suspect Thou ap’st this folly ; if I find thee trifling Or juggling with the Pythia for predictions, By all the gods, I'll have thee flayed, thy skin Striped into thongs, to strangle thee withal. Dissembling varlet !
[Crosses, L., and strikes Brutus, who seizes homo Val. Shame, my lord ! forbear! Threat'ning a fool, you do but wrong yourself.
Hor. But that the princes love his son, brave Titus, My dagger should have pierced his throat ere now, And sent him to his mother earth forever! He shall be watched.—Come, come with me, Valerius.
[Erit, L. U. E Val. The gods restore thee to thyself, And us to thee !
(Exit, L. U. E
Bru. Alone. A little longer,
A little longer yet support me, patience !
The day draws on : it presses to the birth-
I see it in the forming womb of time-
The embryo liberty.-Ha !-tis my son-
Down, rebel nature, down!-
Enter TTTUS, R.
Tit. Welcome to Rome !
Would I might welcome thee to reason, too!
Bru. Give me thy hand-nay, give it me
Tit. What would'st thou ?
Speak to thy son.
Bru. I had a thing to say,
But I have lost it. Let it pass—no matter.
Trt. Look not upon me with those eyes, but speak
What is it that annoys thee ? tell thy friend
How can I serve thee? What dost lack ?
Thou canst do much at court.
Tit. Ah, this is nothing !
Bru. So much the fitter for a fool's petition, And a court promise.
Tit. Oh, this trifling racks me.
Bru. Lend me thine ear: I'll tell a secret to thee
Worth a whole city's ransom. This it is :
Nay, ponder it, and lock it in thy heart-
There are more fools, my son, in this wise world,
Than the gods ever made.
Tit. Say'st thou, my father?
Expound this riddle. If thy mind doth harbour
Aught that imports a son like me to know,
Or, knowing, to achieve, declare it.
Bru. Now, my son,
Should the great gods, who made me what thou see'st,
Repent, and in their vengeance cast upon me
The burden of my senses back again-
What wouldst thou say?
Tit. Oh, my lamented father,
Would the kind gods restore thee to thy reason
Bru. Then, Titus, then I should be mad with reas in.
Had I the sense to know myself a Roman,
This hand should tear this heart from out my ribs,
Ere it should own allegiance to a tyrant.
If, therefore, thou dost love me, pray the gods
To keep me what I am. Where all are slaves,
None but the fool is happy,
Tit. We are RomansNot slaves
Bru. Not slaves ? Why, what art thou ?
Tit. Thy son.
Dost thou not know me?
Bru. You abuse my folly.
I know thee not.-Wert thou my son, ye gods,
Thou wouldst tear off this sycophantic robe,
Tuck up thy tunic, trim these curléd locks
To the short warrior-cut, vault on thy steed;
Then, scouring through the city, call to arms,
And shout for liberty!
Tit. Starts. Defend me, gods!
Bru. Ha! does it
Tit. For liberty ?
Saidst thou for liberty ?- It cannot be.
Bru. Indeed !-'tis well-no more.
Tit. What would
father? Bru. Begone! you trouble me.
[Crosses, R. Tit. Nay, do not scorn me.
Bru. Said I for liberty ? I said it not:
The awful word, breathed in a coward's ear,
Were sacrilege to utter. Hence, begone !
Said I, you were my son ?-'Tis false : I'm foolish;
My brain is weak, and wanders; you abuse it.
Tit. Ah, do not leave me; not in anger
Bru. Anger? What's that? I am content with folly:
Anger is madness, and above my aim ! (Music heard.
Hark! here is music for thee,-food for love,
And beauty to serve in the rich repast.
C'arquinia comes. Go, worship the bright sun,
And let poor Brutus wither in the shade. [Exit, R.
Tit. Oh, truly said! bright as the golden sun
Tarquinia's beauty beams, and I adore !
Soft music, TARQUINIA enters, R. U. E., preceded by Damsels bearing
a Crown of Gold, some with Censors, &c., proper for
the ceremonials of a dedication to Fortune.
What dedication, or what holy service,
Doth the fair client of the gods provide ?
In the celestial synod is there one
Who will not listen to Tarquinia's prayer?
Tar. I go to Fortune's temple, to suspend
Upon the votive shrine this golden crown.
While incense fills the fane, and holy hymns
Are chaunted for my brother's safe return,
What shall I ask for Titus ?
. Though the goddess,
In her blind bounty, should unthrone the world,
To build me one vast empire, my ambition,
If by thy love unblest, would slight the gift :
Therefore of Fortune I have naught to ask :
She hath no interest in Tarquinia's heart
Nature, not Fortune, must befriend me there,
Tar. Thy gentle manners, Titus, have endeared thee,
Although a subject Roman, to Tarquinia.
My brother Sextus wears thee next his heart;
The queen herself, of all our courtly youth,
First in her favour holds the noble Titus;
And though my royal father well may keep
A jealous eye upon thy Junian race,
A race unfriendly to the name of king,
Yet thee he cherishes; with generous joy
The monarch sees thy early virtue shoot,
And with a parent's fondness rears its growth.
Tit. Oh! neither name, nor nature, nor the voice
Of lost father, could he wake to reason,
Not the wrongs that tyranny could pile
On my afflicted head, --not all the praise
That patriot gratitude could shower upon me,
Can shake the faithful
my soul, To sever it from love and my Tarquinia.