Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

Calls on thee with a right can shut out mine?
Thou shalt not go!

[Trumpet."
C. Grac. Licinia !
Licinia. Nay, thou shalt not!
C. Grac. Let go my robe !

Licinia. I will not let it go ! -
You hurt me, Caius !_“ Know you, you do hurt me!
For Jupo's sake, dear husband !--Caius-O!
You gripe my wrist till I am sick with the pain !
If any one had said it !”-Promise one thing
And I will let thee go.

C. Grac. What is it?
Licinia. Kill me!
C. Grac. Licinia ! [Catches her to his breast.
Licinia. Ah!

[Nearly faints in his arms. C. Grac. Gods! I have kill'd thee !

Licinia. No! Or if you have, 'tis with a sudden draught Of too sweet life |-“Bless thee, my Caius-bless

thee! You will not go !-you'll stay with me!---you'll come

with me! You'll live for me !Come in! Come in! Come in!"

Enter LICINIUS, L. Licin. What keeps you, Caius?

C. Grac. [Aside to him.] Take her from about My neck.

Licinia. I hear you, Caius .There !-Myself Will do that kindness for thee. 6 Thou art free To go.-Stay, husband !-Give me, from about Thy neck, that collar which thou wear'st, to keep it As thy last gift.

C. Grac. Here, my Licinia.

Licinia. What !
Nothing about me I can give thee in
Exchange for't ?-0! I have a token yet,
That hath the virtue of an amulet
To him believes in't.-One thing, I do know,
Steel, at its sight, hath all as harmless turn'd
As point of down, that cannot stand against
The tenderest breath. Swear” only, stay till
I fetch one gift, one last, one parting gift.

C. Grac. Bring it, love! [Exit LICINIA hurriedly, R.

Licin. Now, Caius !
Now is your time! Wait not till she returns.

C. Grac. Iv'e promis'd her.

Licin. And if you promis'd her
To pluck an eye out, would you thiok it kinder
To do't, than leave't undone ? Away, at once !
The cause !--the cause !

Licinia rushes out with her Child, R.
Licinia. Thy boy, my Caius !
C. Grac. Ha !
Licinia. Nay, if thou look'st that way upon thy

child, I'm satisfied there is no hope for me!

[Kneels. C. Grac. Why, was this kind ?

Liciniu. I do not know that word.
It stands for nothing-worse! 'Tis found the thing
It says it is not. Husbands are callid kind,
That break the foolish hearts are knit to them-..
And fathers kind, who their own children do
Make orphans of-and brothers kind, who play
The parts of bloodless strangers—and friends, too,
Whose actions find them foes. More kind are foes
That are not kind, but do not say they are !

C. Grac. Take the child, wife.
Licinia. I will."
C. Grac. Why dost thou kneel?
Licinia. To beg a blessing for him of the gods,
Since thou dost turn him from thee, asking it
Of thee.

C. Grac. The gods be more to him; Licinia,
Than thou wouldst have me be.- “ Licinia!-Ha!
That look.'

Licin. Come ! Come !
C. Grac. She rivets me!

[Trumpets, L. Licin. Do you hear? C. Grac. Tear me away !-More blessings light

upon you Than I feel pangs who curse the things I'd bless !

[Exeunt C. GRACCHUS and LICINIUS, L. Alarm continues.-Enter CORNELJA from the house, .

followed by Lucilla and Lucius, R. Cor. What's this?-_Licinia !

Licinia. Take the child from me, Until I lay me down and die.

Cor. And die !
Rise, rise, my daughter !

[ocr errors]

Licinia. Rather thou fall down
Along with me, and pray the gods they send
A thunderbolt to strike us both together;
For both already they have smitten so,
To spare's the countertide of mercy!

Cor. Rise!
We may not tempt the gods !"-Come into the house,
And show thy tears to it-'twill not tell of thee.
This is the common street, “and thou but lend'st

The essence of thy grief to vilest tongues Will make a jest and marvel on't. Come in.

Licinia. You counsel me, and do not know the cause Whereon you counsel me!

Cor. My son is dead?
Licinia. No! No!- -Yet

Cor. Yet !-Why wouldst thou say he lives,
And but that little word 'twixt him and death?
He is the same as dead, then think him dead
As I do.

Licinia. And art thou a mother?

Cor. Yes!
The mother of the virtue of my child !
The fashion of his body nature fix’d.
I had no choice in't-was not ask'd how high
The stature out should grow-gave not my voice
As to the shape of limb or lineament-
Nor pick'd the shade and texture of the skin.
But of his worth, the modelling was mine-
Say that is dead, and you may say I'm dead !

Licinia. I cannot answer this !-- I can but marvel
The weight bows me to earth, should seem so light

Alarm.-LIVIA rushes in, L.
Livia. Cornelia !
Cor. Well, my Livia ?
Livia. Those fearful noises !-Listen !- You will

hear
The rush of feet on every side. I've pass'd
Such groups of angry looking men-"some pale-
Some flush'd-some mute, and others muttering
To one another"-hurrying all one way,
As all on one momentous object bent.
I came to thee, that we might seek some sanctuary,
For houses are not safe in times like these !

Cor. The Temple of Diana is at hand.
We will go thither. See, my Livia,

To you.

How lost Licinia is ! Take hold of her,
And lead the way.Nobly, ye gods ! 0, nobly!

[Exeunt, CORNELIA last, R.

T
TO

Dc
W
An
An

I'll

We
Yic
MF
So
Fec
De
On
No

C

Is ;

SCENE II.-Mount Aventine,
Enter groups of armed Citizens.-Caius GRACCHUS,

Fulvius Flaccus, and VETTIUS, L. S. E.
C. Grac. You see !_You see! Their very trum-

pets shake
Your ranks. How will they stand the blows of those
Whose only breath can stagger?What! No means ?"
Flac. Twice have we offered terms of peace, which

they
Have'twice refus'd—and into prison cast:
Our herald, my own son; and not content
With this, they have proclaim'd for a reward
To him who brings your head, its weight in gold.

C. Grac. Then shall they have it at a dearer price,
The safety of my friends.

Enter POMPONIUS, R.
Pom. Why stand you here?
Advance !-, rumour spreads among our ranks,
That pardon is proclaim'd to those who quit us ;
And many friends fall off!

C. Grac. It shall be so !
Call back the runaways, and let them save
The honour of their manhood! [Crosses to L.]

bands, drive out
Your sad foreboding thoughts; your wives shall hear
Your feet to-night upon the threshold sons,
Check not your pious tears, but let them flow
For joy; your mothers have not lost their props"
Cowards, relax not your strain'd sinews yet,
But live redoubted-brave hearts, rein yo courage
To give it course upon a fairer field-
Caius alone shall bleed !

Vettius. What mean you, Caius?

C. Grac. To yield myself into the Consul's hands, And save these veins their stores ! [Crosses to c.

Vettius. No, by the gods
You shall not do it!

C. Grac. Not! Why should I live
At such a price as half these lives, which I
Can, singly dying, save? I cannot live

To
Wi
She
And

" Hus

Pre
The
Ane
Cor
The
Сре
Giv
To
Dea
Sen
Tha
Ma
Lift

To give my country freedom; let me die
To save her blood !

Enter LICINIUS, R,
Licin. Where are your swords, my friends ?
Do they become their scabbards or your hands,
When tyranny's so near?-Unsheath, I say,
And show their honest faces to our foes,
And make the knaves to blush.

C. Gruc. Draw off our friends.
I'll meet them singly!-

Licin. Never ! We'll live or die together!-Or, take your courseYield yourself to the tyrant if you will; My sword is out and shall not quit my grasp, So long as it can strike a link away From the vile chains that gall us.- Leave us, Caius!Desert us

-fly us—carry with thee half
Our strength, with the remaining half we'll struggle,
Nor vilely live the thralls of tyranny !
C. Grac. O Rome, my country!--O my mother,

Rome!
Is it to shed thy blood I draw my sword?
To fill thy matrons' and thy daughters' eyes
With tears, and drain the spirits of thy sons !
Should I not rather turn it 'gainst myself,
And, by the timely sacrifice of one
Preserve the many. - They will not let me do it ;
They take from me the rule of mine own acts,
And make me freedom's slaye! What! Is it so?
Come, then, the only virtue that is left me.
The fatal virtue of necessity.
Upon them!-
Give them stout hearts, ye gods, to enable them
To stand the flashing of their tyrants' swords;
Deaf to the din of battle let them be ;
Senseless to wounds, and without eyes for blood ;
That, for this once, they may belie themselves,
Make tyranny to cower, and from her yoke
Lift prostrate liberty to fall no more!

[Exeunt, R.

« PředchozíPokračovat »