« ПредишнаНапред »
Are not your orders to address the senate?
Dec. My business is with Cato: Cæsar sees the streights to which you 're driven; and as he knows Cato's high worth, is anxious for his life.
Cato. My life is grafted on the fate of Rome: would he save Cato? bid him spare his country. Tell your
dictator this; and tell him Cato disdains a life, which he has power to offer.
Dec. Rome and her senators submit to Cæsar; her generals and her consuls are no more, who check'd his conquests, and deliy'd his triumphs. Why will not Cato be this Cæsar's friend?
Cato. Those very reasons, thou hast urg'd, forbid
[it. and reason with you as from friend to friend : think on the storm that gathers o'er your head, and threatens every hour to burst upon it; still may you stand high in your country's honours, do but comply, and make your peace with Cæsar. Rome will rejoice, and cast it's eyes on Cato, as on the second of mankind. Cato.
Dec. Cæsar is well acquainted with your virtues, and therefore sets this value on your life: le him but know the price of Cato's friendship, and name your terms. Cato.
Bid him disband his legions, restore the commonwealth to liberty, subinit his actions to the public censure, and stand the judgment of a Roman senate. Bid him do this, and Cato is his friend.
Dec. Cato, the world talks loudly of your wisdom
Cato. Nay more, tho’Cato's voice was ne'er emto clear the guilty, and to varnish crimes, [employ'd
myself will mount the rostrum in his favour,
Dec. A style like this becomes a conqueror.
Dec, Consider, Cato you ’re in Utica;
you. Cato, Let him consider that who drives us bither: 'tis Cæsar's sword has made Rome's senate little, and thinn'd it's ranks. Alas! thy dazzled eye beholds this man in a false glaring light, which conquest and success have thrown upon him; didst thou but view bim right, thou’dst see him black with murder, treason, sacrilege, and crimes, that strike my soul with horror but to name them. 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 should never buy me to be like that Cæsar.
Dec. Does Cato send this answer back to Cæsar, for all his generous cares, and proffer'd friendship?
Cato. His cares for me are insolent and vain : presumptuous man! the gods take care of Cato. Would Cæsar shew the greatness of his soul, bid him employ his care for these my friends. And make good use of his ill-gotten power by sheltering men much better than himself. [get Dec. Your high unconquer'd beart makes you foryou
're a man. You rush on your destruction, But I have done. When I relate hereafter the tale of this unhappy embassy,
all Rome will be in tears.
Cato, we thank thee The mighty genius of inmortal 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 it's gratitude to Cato, who with so great a soul consults it's 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? 'T is not to stalk about, and draw fresh air from time to time, or gaze upon the sun; 't is to be free. When liberty is gone, Jife grows insipid, and has lost it's relish. O could my dying hand but lodge a sword in Cæsar's bosom, and revenge my country, by heavens I could enjoy the pangs of death, and smile in agony. Luc.
Others perhaps may serve their country with as warm a zeal, though 't is not kindled into so much rage.
Sem. This sober conduct is a mighty virtue in luke-warm 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. Sem.
Cato, my resentments are sacrific'd to Rome I stand reprov'd.
Cato: Fathers, 't is 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 drowu'd amid 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 heaven may say, it ought to be prolong’d. Fathers, farewell The young Numidian prince comes forward, and expects to know our councils.
[Ex. Sen. Enter JUBA. Cato. Juba, the Roman senate has resolv’d, till time give, better prospects, still to keep the sword unsheath'd, and turn it's 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 he, whatever fortune shall befal 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 them,
Cato. Juba, thy father was a worthy prince, and merited, alas! a better fate; but heaven 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 rules, 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 th'assistance of my father's powerful friends? Did they know Cato, our remotest kings would
pour embattled multitades 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 would fain preserve a life of so much value. My heart is wounded, when I see such virtue afflicted 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 heaven's first favourites, and the best of men: the gods, in bounty, work up storms about us,