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Where is your father, Marcia, where is Cato.?
Lucia, speak low ; he is retir'd to rest.
Lucia, I feel a gently-dawning hope
Rise in my soul. We shall be happy still.
Alas, I tremble when I think on Cato.
In every view, in every thought, I tremble!
Cato is stern, and awful as a god;
He knows not how to wink at human frailty,
Or pardon weakness, that he never felt.
Thongh stern and awful to the foes of Rome,
He is all goodness, Lucia, always mild,
Compassionate, and gentle to his friends.
Fill'd with domestic tenderness, the best,
The kindeft father! I have ever found him
Easy and good, and bounteous to wishes.
'Tis his confent alone can make us blefs'd.
Marcia, we both are equally involv'd
In the same intricate, perplex’d, distress.
The cruel hand of fate, that has destroy'd
Thy brother Marcus, whom we both lament
And ever shall lament, unhappy youth |
Has set my soul at large, and now I stand
Loose of my vow.
But who knows Cato's thoughts ? Who knows how yet he may dispose of Portius, 1. Or how he has determind of thyself?
Let him but live ! commit the rest to heaven.
Sweet are the slumbers of the virtuous man!
O Marcia, I have seen thy godlike father :
Some power invisible fupports his foul,
And bears it up in all its wonted greatness.
A kind refreshing sleep is fall’n upon him :
I saw bim stretch'd at ease, his fancy lost
In pleasing dreams; as I drew near his couch,
He smild, and cry'd, Cæfar, thou canst not hurt me !
His mind still labours with some-dreadful thought,
Lucia, why all this grief, these floods of sorrow?
Dry up thy tears, my child; we all are fafe
While Cato lives--his presence will protect us.
Lucius, the horsemen are return d from viewing
The number, strength, and posture of our foes,
Who now encamp within a short hour's march.
On the high point of yon bright western tower
We ken them from afar; the setting sun
Plays on their shining arms and burnish d helmets,
And covers all the field with gleams of fire.
Marcia, 'tis time we should awake thy father.
Cæsar is still dispos'd to give us terms,
And waits at distance 'till he hears from Cato.
Portius, thy looks speak somewhat of importance.
What tidings dost thou bring? Methinks I see
Unusual gladness sparkling in thy eyes.
As I was hasting to the port, where now
My father's friends, impatient for a passage,
Accuse the lingering winds, a sail arriv'd
From Pompey's son, who through the realms of Spain
Calls out for vengeance on his father's death,
And rouzes the whole nation up to arms.
Were Cato at their head, once more might Rome
Affert her rights, and claim her liberty.
But hark! what means that groan ? O give me way,
And let me fly into my father's presence.
Cato, amidst his flumbers, thinks on Rome,
And in the wild disorder of his soul
Mourns o'er his country; ha! a second groan fame
Heaven guard us all!
Alas! 'tis not the voice Of one who sleeps ! 'tis agonizing pain, "Tis death is in that found
O sight of woe! O Marcia, what we fear'd is come to pass ! Cato is fall’n upon his fword
O Portius, Hide all the horrors of thy mournful tale, And let us guess the rest.
I've rais'd him up, And plac'd him in his cha where, pale and faint, He gasps for breath, and, as his life flows from him, Demands to see his friends. His weeping servants, Obsequious to his orders, bear him hither. [The back Scene opens, and discovers Cato.
O heaven, aslist me in this dreadful hour
the last fad duties to my father !
These are thy triumphs, thy exploits, O Cæfar!
Now is Rome fall'n indeed !-
[CATO brought forward in bis cbair.
Here set me down Portius, come near me—are my friends embark’d? Can any thing be thought of for their service ? Whilft I yet live, let me not live in vain. -O Lucius, art thou here ?
-Thou art too good! Let this our friendship live between our children ; Make Portius happy in thy daughter Lucia. Alas poor man, he weeps !--Marcia, my daughter
-O bend me forward ! Juba loves thee, Marcia. A Senator of Rome, while Rome surviv’d, Would not have match'd his daughter with a king, But Cæsar's arms have thrown down all distinction; Whoe'er is brave and virtuous, is a Roman-I'm fick to death- when shall I get
loose From this vain world, th' abode of guilt and sorrow!
-And yet methinks a beam of light breaks in
On my departing fonl. Alas, I fear
I 've been too hasty. Oye powers, that search
The heart of man, and weigh his inmost thoughts,
If I have done amiss, impute it not!
The best may err, but you are good, ando y, [Dies.
There fled the greatest soul that ever warm'd
A Roman breast. O Cato! O my friend !
Thy will shall be religiously observ’d.
But let us bear this awful corpse to Cæfar,
And lay it in his fight, that it may
A fence betwixt us and the victor's wrath;
Cato, though dead, shall still protect his friends.