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To wake the soul by tender strokes of art, Who sees him act but envies ev'ry deed ?
The triumph ceas’d-tears gush'd from ev'ry eye, In pitying love we but our weakness shew, The world's great victor past unheeded by: And wild ambition well deserves its woe. Her last good man, dejected Rome ador'd, Here tears shall flow from a more gen'rous cause, And honour'd Cæsar's less than Cato's sword. Such tears as patriots shed for dying laws : Britons, attend : Be worth like this approv'd, He bids your breasts with ancient ardour rise, And shew you have the virtue to be mov'd; And calls forth Roman drops from British eyes. With honest scorn the first fam’d Cato view'd Virtue confess'd in human shape he draws, Rome learning arts from Greece, whom she subWhat Plato thought, and god-like Cato was:
du’d; No common object to your sight displays, Our scenes precariously subsist too long But what with pleasure Heav'n itself surveys; On French translations, and Italian song: A brave man struggling in the storms of fate, Dare to have sense yourselves; assert the stage And greatly falling in a falling state !
Be justly warm’d with your own native rage; While Cato gives his little senate laws,
Such plays alone should please a British ear, What bosom beats not in his country's cause? As Cato's self had not disdain'd to hear.
Enter Portius and MARCUS.
Puzzld in mazes, and perplex'd with errors.
Our understanding traces them in vain, Por. The dawn is overcast, the morning Lost and bewildered in the fruitless search; lowers,
Nor sees with how much art the windings run, And heavily in clouds brings on the day ; Nor where the regular confusion ends. The great, the important day, big with the fate Marc. These are suggestions of a mind at Of Cato and of Rome. Our father's death Would fill up all the guilt of civil war,
Oh, Portius, didst thou taste but half the griefs And close the scene of blood. Already Cæsar That wring my soul, thou couldst not talk thus Has ravaged more than half the globe, and sees
coldly. Mankind grown thin by his destructive sword: Passion unpitied, and successless love, Should he go farther, numbers would be wanting Plant daggers in my heart, and aggravate To form new battles, and support his crimes. My other griefs. Were but my Lucia kind Ye gods, what havoc does ambition make
Por. Thou seest not that thy brother is thy Among your works!
rival; Murc. Thy steady temper, Połtius,
But I must hide it, for I know thy temper, Can look on guilt, rebellion, fraud, and Cæsar,
(Aside In the calm lights of mild philosophy;
Now, Marcus, now thy virtue's on the proof: I'm tortured, even to madness, when I think Put forth thy utmost strength, work every nerve, On the proud victor: every time he's named, And call up all thy father in thy soul : Pharsalia rises to my view !-I see
To quell the tyrant, Love, and guard thy heart The insulting tyrant prancing o'er the field, On this weak side, where most our nature fails, Strewed with Rome's citizens, and drenched in Would be a conquest worthy Cato's son. slaughter,
Marc. Portius, the counsel which I cannot His horse's hoofs wet with patrician blood !
take, Oh, Portius! is there not some chosen curse, Instead of healing, but upbraids my weakness. Some hidden thunder in the stores of Heaven, Bid me for honour plunge into a war Red with uncommon wrath, to blast the man, Of thickest foes, and rush on certain death, Who owes his greatness to his country's ruin? Then shalt thou see that Marcus is not slow Por. Believe me, Marcus, 'tis an impious | To follow glory, and confess his father. greatness,
Love is not to be reasoned down, or lost And mix'd with too much horror to be envied; In high ambition, or a thirst of greatness : How does the lustre of our father's actions, 'Tis second life, it grows into the soul, Through the dark cloud of ills that cover him, Warms every vein, and beats in every pulse; Break out, and burn with more triumphant I feel it here: my resolution meltsbrightness!
Por. Behold young Juba, the Numidian prince, His sufferings shine, and spread a glory round with how much care he forms himself to glory, him;
And breaks the fierceness of his native temper, Greatly unfortunate, he fights the cause To copy out our father's bright example. Of honour, virtue, liberty, and Rome.
He loves our sister Marcia, greatly loves her; His sword ne'er fell, but on the guilty head; His eyes, his looks, his actions, all betray it; Oppression, tyranny, and power usurp’d, But still the smothered fondness burns within Draw all the vengeance of his arm upon them.
him; Marc. Who knows not this? But what can When most it swells, and labours for a vent, Cato do
The sense of honour, and desire of fame, Against a world, a base, degenerate world, Drive the big passion back into his heart. That courts the yoke, and bows the neck to What! shall an African, shall Juba's heir Cæsar?
Reproach great Cato's son, and shew the world Pent up in Utica, he vainly forms
A virtue, wanting in a Roman soul ! A poor epitome of Roman greatness,
Marc. Portius, no more! your words lease And, covered with Numidian guards, directs
stings behind them. A feeble army, and an empty senate,
Whene'er did Juba, or did Portius shew Remnants of mighty battles fought in vain. A virtue that has cast me at a distance, By Heaven, such yirtue, joined with such suc- And thrown me out in the pursuits of honour? cess,
Por. Marcus, I know thy generous temper Distracts my very soul! our father's fortune
well ; Would almost tempt us to renounce his precepts. Fling but the appearance of dishonour on it, Por. Remember what our father oft has told It straight takes fire, and mounts into a blaze.
Marc. A brother's sufferings claim a brother's The ways of Heaven are dark and intricate,
Por. Heaven knows I pity thge! Behold my
And while the fathers of the senate meet eyes,
In close debate, to weigh the event of war, Even whilst I speak—do they not swim in tears? I'll animate the soldiers' drooping courage Were but my heart as naked to thy view, With love of freedom, and contempt of life; Marcus would see it bleed in his behalf.
I'll thunder in their ears their country's cause, Marc. Why then dost treat me with rebukes, And try to rouse up all that’s Roman in them. instead
'Tis not in mortals to
to command success, Of kind condoling cares, and friendly sorrow? But we'll do more, Sempronius; we'll deserve it. Por. Oh, Marcus! did I know the way to ease
[Erit. Thy troubled heart, and mitigate thy pains, Sem. Curse on the stripling! how he apes his Marcus, believe me, I could die to do it.
sire! Marc. Thou best of brothers, and thou best Ambitiously sententious_But I wonder of friends!
Old Syphax comes not; his Numidian genius Pardon a weak distempered soul, that swells Is well disposed to mischief, were he prompt With sudden gusts, and sinks as soon in calms, And eager on it; but he must be spurred, The sport of passions. But Sempronius comes : And every moment quickened to the course. He must not find this softness hanging on me. Cato has used me ill: he has refused
[Erit Marc. His daughter Marcia to my ardent vows.
Besides, his baffled arms, and ruined cause, Enter SEMPRONIUS.
Are bars to my ambition. Cæsar's favour, Sem. Conspiracies no sooner should be formed That showers down blessings on his friends, will Than executed. What means Portius here?
raise me I like not that cold youth. I must dissemble, To Rome's first honours. If I give up Cato, And speak a language foreign to my heart. I claim, in my reward, his captive daughter.
[Aside. But Syphax comes-
Complain aloud of Cato's discipline,
ther, To this poor hall, his little Roman senate, Sem. Believe me, Syphax, there's no time to (The leavings of Pharsalia) to consult
waste; If he can yet oppose the mighty torrent
Even while we speak our conqueror comes on, That bears down Rome, and all her gods before And gathers ground upon us every moment, it,
Alas! thou know'st not Cæsar's active soul, Or must at length give up the world to Cæsar. With what a dreadful course he rushes on
Sem. Not all the pomp and majesty of Rome From war to war, In vain has nature formed Can raise her senate more than Cato's presence. Mountains and oceans to oppose his passage; His virtues render our assembly awful;
He bounds o'er all; victorious in his march, They strike with something like religious fear, The Alps and Pyreneans sink before him: And make even Cæsar tremble, at the head Through winds, and waves, and storms, he Of armies flushed with conquest. Oh, my Por
works his way, tius!
Jippatient for the battle; one day more Could I but call that wondrous man my father, Will see the victor thundering at our gates. Would but thy sister Marcia be propitious But, tell me, hast thou yet drawn o'er young To thy friend's vows, I might be blessed indeed!
Juba? Por. Alas, Sempronius! wouldst thou talk of That still would recommend thee more to Cæsar, love
And challenge better terms. To Marcia, whilst her father's life's in danger? Syph. Alas, he's lost! Thou might'st as well court the pale, trembling He's lost, Sempronius; all his thoughts are full vestal,
Of Cato's virtues—But I'll try once more, When she beholds the holy flame expiring, (For every instant I expect him here)
Sem. The more I see the wonders of thy race, If yet I cản subdue those stubborn principles The more I'm charmed. Thou must take heed, of faith and honour, and I know not what, my Portius;
That have corrupted his Numidian temper, The world has all its eyes ou Cato's son; And struck the infection into all his soul. Thy father's merit sets thee up to view,
Sem. Be sure to press upon him every motive. And shews thee in the fairest point of light, Juba's surrender, since his father's death, To make thy virtues or thy faults conspicuous. Would give up Afric into Cæsar's hands, Por. Well dost thou seem to check iny linger. And make him lord of half the burning zone. ing here
Syph. But is it true, Sempronius, that your On this important hour—I'll straight away,
Is called together? Gods! thou must be cau- Or guides, in troops, the embattled elephant, tious;
Laden with war? These, these, are arts, my Cato has piercing eyes, and will discern
prince, Our frauds, unless they're covered thick with art. In which your Zama does not stoop to Rome.
Sen. Let me alone, good Syphax; I'll conceal Juba. These all are virtues of a meaner rank;
And lay it under the restraint of laws;
To cultivate the wild, licentious savage, Clothe thy feigned zeal in rage, in fire, in fury ! With wisdom, discipline, and liberal arrs; Syph. In troth, thou’rt able to instruct grey The embellishments of life: virtues like these hairs,
Make human nature shine, reform the soul, And teach the wily African deceit.
And break our fierce barbarians into men. Sem. "Once more be sure to try thy skill on Syph. Patience, kind Heaven !-excuse an old Juba.
man's warmth : Meanwhile I'll hasten to my Roman soldiers, What are those wondrous civilizing arts, Inflame the mutiny, and underhand
This Roman polish, and this smooth behaviour, Blow up their discontents, till they break out That renders man thus tractable and tame? Unlooked for, and discharge themselves on Cato. Are they not only to disguise our passions, Remember, Syphax, we must work in haste: To set our looks at variance with our thoughts, Oh! think what anxious moments pass between To check the starts and sallies of the soul, The birth of plots, and their last fatal periods ! And break off all its commerce with the tongue ? Oh! 'tis a dreadful interval of time,
i short, to change us into other creatures, Fill'd up with horror all, and big with death! Than what our nature and the gods designed us? Destruction hangs on every word we speak, Juba. To strike thee dumb-turu up thy eyes On every thought, till the concluding stroke
to Cato! Determines all, and closes our design. [Erit. There may'st thou see to what a god-like height
Syphi. I'll try if yet I can reduce to reason The Roman virtues lift up mortal man. This headstrong youth, and make him spurn at While good, and just, and anxious for his friends, Cato.
He's still severely bent against himself;
And, when his fortune sets before him all
The pomps and pleasures that his soul can wish,
can, Then tell me, Syphax, I conjure thee, tell me, That traverses our vast Numidian deserts What are the thoughts that knit thy brow in In quest of prey, and lives upon his bow,
But better practises those boasted virtues. And turn thine eye thus coldly on thy prince ? Coarse are his meals, the fortune of the chace; Syph. 'Tis not my talent to conceal my Amidst the running stream he slakes his thirst; thoughts,
Toils all the day, and, at the approach of night, Or carry smiles and sunshine in my face, On the first friendly bank he throws him down, When discontent sits heavy at my heart; Or rests his head upon a rock till morn; I have not yet so much the Roman in me. Then rises fresh, pursues his wonted game, Juba. Why dost thou cast out such ungener- And if the following day he chance to find
A new repast, or an untasted spring, Against the lords and sovereigns of the world? Blesses his stars, and thinks it luxury. Dost thou not see mankind fall down before Juba. Thy prejudices, Syphax, wont discern them,
What virtues grow from ignorance and choice, And own the force of their superior virtue ? Nor how the hero differs from the brute. Is there a nation in the wilds of Afric,
But grant that others could, with equal glory, Amidst our barren rocks, and burning sands, Look down on pleasures, and the baits of sense, That does not tremble at the Roman name? Where shall we find the man that bears afflic. Syph. Gods! where's the worth that sets these
tion, people up
Great and majestic in his griefs, like Cato? Above our own Numidia's tawny sons? Heavens! with what strength, what steadiness of Do they, with tougher sinews, bend the bow ?
mind, Or flies the javelin swifter to its mark,
He triumphs in the midst of all his sufferings ! Launched from the vigour of a Roman arm? How does he rise against a load of woes, Who, like our active African, instructs
And thank the gods that throw the weight upos The fiery steed, and trains him to his hand ?
Syph. 'Tis pride, rank pride, and haughtiness Syph. Believe me, prince, though hard to con
of soul; I think the Romans call it stoicism.
'Tis easy to divert and break its force. Had not your royal father thought so highly Absence might cure it, or a second mistress Of Roman virtue, and of Cato's cause, Light up another flame, and put out this. He had not fallen by a slave's hand inglorious; The glowing dames of Zama's royal court Nor would his slaughtered army now have lain Have faces fushed with more exalted charms; On Afric's sands disfigured with their wounds, The sun, that rolls his chariot o'er their heads, To gorge the wolves and vultures of Numidia. Works up more fire and colour in their cheeks;
Juba. Why dost thou call my sorrows up afresh? Were you with these, my prince, you'd soon forMy father's name brings tears into my eyes. Syph. Oh, that you'd profit by your father's The pale unripened beauties of the north. ills!
Juba. 'Tis not a set of features, or complexion, Juba, What wouldst thou have me do? The tincture of a skin, that I admire: Syph. Abandon Cato.
Beauty soon grows familiar to the lover, Juba. Syphax, I should be more than twice an Fades in his eye, and palls upon the sense. orphan
The virtuous Marcia towers above her sex: By such a loss.
True, she is fair, (oh, how divinely fair !) Syph. Aye, there's the tie that binds you! But still the lovely maid improves her charms You long to call him father. Marcia's charms With inward greatness, unaffected wisdom, Work in your heart unseen, and plead for Cato. And sanctity of manners; Cato's soul No wonder you are deaf to all I say.
Shines out in every thing she acts or speaks, Juba. Syphax, your zeal becomes importunate; While winning mildness and attractive smiles I've hitherto permitted it to rave,
Dwell in her looks, and, with becoming grace, And talk at large ; but learn to keep it in, Soften the rigour of her father's virtue. Lest it should take more freedom than I'll give it. Syph. How does your tongue grow wanton in Syph. Sir, your great father never used me
her praise ! thus.
But on my knees I beg you would considerAlas, he's dead! but can you e'er forget
Juba. Ha! Syphax, is't not she? She moves The tender sorrows, and the pangs of nature, The fond embraces, and repeated blessings,
And with her Lucia, Lucius's fair daughter. Which you drew from him in your last fare- My heart beats thick-I prithee, Syphax, leave
well? Still must I cherish the dear, sad remembrance, Syph. Ten thousand curses fasten on them both! At once to torture and to please my soul. Vow will the woman, with a single glance, The good old king at parting wrung my hand, Undo what I've been labouring all this while. (His eyes brim-full of tears) then sighing, cried,
(Eril SYPHAX. Pr’ythee be careful of my son! His grief
Enter MARCIA and LUCIA. Swelled up so high, he could not utter more.
Juba. Alas! thy story melts away my soul. Juba. Hail, charming maid ! How does thy That best of fathers ! how shall I discharge
beauty smooth The gratitude and duty which I owe him! The face of war, and make even horror smile!
Syph. By laying up his counsels in your heart. At sight of thee my heart shakes off its sorrows; Juba. His counsels bade me yield to thy di- I feel a dawn of joy break in upon me, rections :
And for a while forget the approach of Cæsar. Then, Syphax, chide me in severest terms; Mar. I should be grieved, young prince, to Vent all thy passion, and I'll stand its shock,
my presence Calm and unruffled as a summer sea,
Unbent your thoughts, and slackened them to When not a breath of wind flies o'er its surface.
arms, Syph. Alas ! my prince, I'd guide thee to your While, warm with slaughter, our victorious foe safety.
Threatens aloud, and calls you to the field. Juba. I do believe thou wouldst; but tell me Juba. Oh, Marcia, let me hope thy kind con
how? Syph. Fly from the fate that follows Cæsar's And gentie wishes follow me to battle ! foes !
The thought will give new vigour to my arm, Juba. My father scorned to do it.
Add strength and weight to my descending sword, Syph. And therefore died.
And drive it in a tempest on the foe. Juba. Better to die ten thousand thousand Mar. My prayers and wishes always shall atdcaths,
tend Than wound my honour.
The friends of Rome, the glorious cause of virtue, Syph, Rather say, your love.
And men approved of by the gods and Cato. Juba. Syphax, I've promised to preserve my
Juba. That Juba may deserve thy pious cares, temper.
I'll gaze for ever on thy god-like father, Why wilt thou urge me to confess a flame, Transplanting, one by one, into my life, I long have stifled, and would fain conceal? His bright perfections, 'till I shine like him.