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CA T 0.

ACT I.

SCENE I.-A Hall in the Palace.

Enter PORCIUS and MARCUS, R.
Por. The dawn is overcast, the morning lowers,
And beavily in clouds brings on the day,
The great, the important day, big with the fate
Of Cato and of Rome. (c.) Our father's death
Would fill up all the guilt of civil war,
And close the scene of blood. Already Cæsar
Has ravag'd more than half the globe, and sees
Mankind grown thin by his destructive sword :
Should he go further, numbers would be wanting
To form new battles, and support his crimes.
Ye gods, what havock does ainbition make
Among your works !

Mar. (L. c.) Thy steady temper, Porcius,
Can look on guilt, rebellion, fraud, and Cæsar,
In the calm lights of mild philosophy :
I'm tortur'd, even to madness, when I think
On the proud victor: every time he's named,
Pharsalia rises to my view ; I see
The insulting tyrant prancing o'er the field
Strow'd with Rome's citizens, and drench'd in slaugh-

ter 0, Porcius, is there not some chosen curse, Some hidden thunder in the stores of heaven, Red with uncommon wrath, to blast the man Who owes his greatness to his country's ruin !

Por. Believe me, Marcus, 'tis an impious greatness, And mix'd with too much horror to be envied. How does the lustre of our father's actions, Through the dark cloud of ills that cover him, Break out, and burn with more triumphant brightness !

His suff'rings shine, and spread a glory round him :
Greatly unfortunate, he fights the cause
of honour, virtue, liberty, and Rome.

Mar. Who knows not this? But what can Cato do
Against a world, a base, degenerate world,
That courts the yoke, and bows the neck to Cæsar?
Pent up in Utica, he vainly forms
A poor epitome of Roman greatness,
And, cover'd with Numidian guards, directs
A feeble army, and an empty senate,
Remnants of mighty battles fought in vain.
By heavens, such virtues, join'd with such success,
Distract my very soul ; our father's fortune
Would almost tempt us to renounce his precepts.

Por. Remember what our father oft has told us :
The ways of heaven are dark and intricate :
Our understanding traces them in vain ;
Lost and bewilder'd in the fruitless search,
Nor sees with how much art the windings run,
Nor where the regular confusion ends.

Mar. These are suggestions of a mind at ease :
0, Porcjus, didst thou taste but half the griefs
That wring my soul, thou could'st not talk thus calmly.
Passion unpitied, and successless love,
Plant daggers in my heart, and aggravate
My other griefs. Were but my Lucia kind-

Por. Thou seest not that thy brother is thy rival:
But I must hide it; for I know thy temper. [Aside.
Now, Marcus, now thy virtue's on the proof:
Put forth thy utmost strength, work every nerve,
And call up all thy father in thy soul :
To quell the tyrant love, and guard thy heart.
On this weak side, where most our nature fails,
Would be a conquest worthy Cato's son.

Mar. Alas, the counsel which I cannot take,
Instead of healing, but upbraids my weakness.
Love is not to be reason'd down, or lost
In high ambition, and a thirst of greatness ;
'Tis second life, that grows into the soul,
Warms every vein, and beats in every pulse:
I feel it here: my resolution melts-

Por. Behold young Juba, the Numidian Prince :
He loves our sister Marcia, greatly loves her ;
But still the smother'd fondness burns within him :
The sense of honour and desire of fame
Drive the big passion back into his heart.-

What! shall an African, shall Juba's heir,
Reproach great Cato's son, and show the world
A virtue wanting in a Roman soul ?
Mar. No more, no more! your words leave stings

behind 'em.
Whene'er did Juba, or did Porcius, show
A virtue that has cast me at a distance,
And thrown me out in the pursuits of honour ?

[Crosses to L.
Por. O, Marcus, did I know the way to ease
Thy troubled heart, and mitigate thy pains,
Believe me, I could freely die to do it.
Mar. Thou best of brothers, and thou best of

friends!
Pardon a weak distemper'd soul, that swells
With sudden gusts, and sinks as soon in calms,
The sport of passions.-But, Sempronius comes :
He must not find this softnesss hanging on me.

[Exit, 1.-PORTIUS retires back to R. U. E.

Enter SEMPRONIUS, R.

Sem. Conspiracies no sooner should be form'd
Than executed. [Aside. ]-What means Porcius here?
I like not that cold youth. I must dissemble,
And speak a language foreign to my heart.-
Good-morrow, Porcius ! (Porcius comes forward.]

Let us once embrace,
Once more embrace, whilst yet we both are free:
To-morrow, should we thus express our friendship,
Each might receive a slave into his arms:
This sun, perhaps, this morning's sun's the last
That e'er shall rise on Roman liberty.

Por. (c.) My father has this morning call’d together
His little Roman senate-
The leavings of Pharsalia-tó consult
If yet he can oppose the mighty torrent
That bears down Rome and all her gods before it-
Or must, at length, give up the world to Cæsar.

Sem. (R.C.) Not ail the pomp and majesty of Rome Can raise her senate more than Cato's presence ; His virtues render her assembly awful, They strike with something like religious fear, And make even Cæsar tremble at the head Of armies flush'd with conquest. O, my Porcius, Could I but call that wonderous man my father,

Would but thy sister Marcia be propitious
To thy friend's vows, I might be bless'd indeed.

Por. Alas ! Sempronius, would'st thou talk of love
To Marcia, whilst her father's life's in danger ?
Thou might'st as well court the pale trembling vestal,
When she beholds the holy flame expiring.

Sem. The more I see the wonders of thy race,
The more l'incharm'd. Thou must take heed, my

Porcius;
The world has all its eyes on Cato's son :
Thy father's merit sets thee up to view,
And shows thee in the fairest point of light,
To make thy virtues or thy faults conspicuous.

Por. Well dost thou seem to check my lingering here
On this important hour.-I'll straight away, (R.)
To animate the soldier's drooping courage
With love of freedom, and contempt of life,
And try to rouse up all that's Roman in 'em.
'Tis not in mortals to command success;
But we'll do more, Sempronius, we'll deserve it.

[Erit, R.
Sem. (c.) Curse on the stripling ! How he apes his sire,
Ambitiously sententious !- But I wonder,
Old Syphax comes' not. His Numidian genius
Is well dispos'd to mischief-
Cato has us'd me ill : he has refus'd
His daughter Marcia to my ardent vows :
Besides, his baffled arms and ruin'd cause
Are bars to my ambition. Cæsar's favour,
That showers down greatness on his friends, will raise
To Rome's first honours. If I give up Cato,
I claim in my reward his captive daughter.-
Syphax comes.

Enter SYPHAX, L.
Syph. (L. c.) Sempronius, all is ready ;
I've sounded my Numidians, man by man,
And find them ripe for a revolt: they all
Complain aloud of Cato's discipline,
And wait but the command to change their master.

Sem. Believe me, Syphax, there's no time to waste;
Even whilst we speak our conqueror comes on,
And gathers ground upon us every moment.
But tell me, hast thou yet drawn o'er young Juba ?
That still would recommend thee mpore to Cæsar,
And challenge better terms.

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Syph. Alas, he's lost,
He's lost, Seinpronius ! all his thoughts are full
Of Cato's virtues !-But I'll try once more,
For every instant I expect him here,
If yet I can subdue those stubborn principles
of faith, of honour, and I know not what,
That have corrupted his Numidian temper,
And struck the infection into all his soul.

Sem. Be sure to press upon him every motive :
Juba's surrender, since his father's death,
Would give up Africk into Cæsar's hands,
And make him lord of half the burning zone.

Syph. But is it true, Sempronius, that your senate
Is call'd together? Gods! thou must be cautious :
Cato has piercing eyes, and will discern
Our frauds, unless they're cover'd thick with art.

Sem. Let me alone, good Syphax : I'll conceal
My thoughts in passion : 'tis the surest way:
I'll bellow out for Rome and for my country,
And mouth at Cæsar, till I shake the senate :
Your cold hypocrisy's a stale device,
A worn-out trick : would'st thou be thought in earnest,
Clothe thy feign'd zeal in rage, in fire, in fury.

Syph. In troth, thou'rt able to instruct grey hairs,
And teach the wily African deceit.

Sem. Once more, be sure to try thy skill on Juba,
Meanwhile I'll hasten to my Roman soldiers, (L.)
Inflame the mutiny, and, underhand,
Blow up their discontents, till they break out
Unlook'd for, and discharge themselves on Cato.
Remember, Syphax, we must work in haste;
O think, what anxious moments pass between
The birth of plots, and their last fatal periods ;
It is a dreadful interval of time,
Fill'd up with horror all, and big with death;
Destruction hangs on every word we speak,
On every thought, till the concluding stroke
Determines all, and closes our design. [Exit, L.

Syph. (c.) I'll try if yet I can reduce to reason
This headstrong youth, and make him spurn at Cato.
The time is short; Cæsar comes rushing on us ;-
But hold-Young Juba sees me, and approaches.

Enter JUBA, R.
Juba. (R.) Syphax, I joy to meet thee thus alone.

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