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But I must hide it, for I know thy temper.
Now, Marcus, now thy virtue's on the proof,
Put forth thy utmost strength, work ev'ry 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.
Marc. Alas, the counsol which I cannot lake,
Instead of healing, bat 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,
With how much care he forms himself to glory,
And breaks the fierceness of his native temper,
To copy out our father's bright example.
He loves our sister Marcia, greatly loves her;
His eyes, his looks, his actions, all betray it;
But still the smother'd fondness burns within him :
When most it swells, and labours for a vent,
The sense of honour, and desire of fame,
Drive the big passion back into his heart.
What, shall an African, shall Juba's heir
Roproach great Cato's son, and show the world .
A virtue wanting in a Roman soul?
Marc. Portius, no more! your words leave stings
Whene'er did Juba, or did Portius, show
A virtue that bas cast me at a distance,
And thrown me out in the pursuits of honour?
Por. Oh, Marcus! did I know the way to ease
Thy troubled heart, and mitigate thy pains,
Marcus, believe me, I could die to do it.
Marc. 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 Sempronias comes : He must not find this softness hanging on me. [Exit.
Enter SEMPRONIUS. Sem. Conspiracies no sooner should be form'd Than executed. What means Portius here? I like not that cold youth. I must dissemble, And speak a language foreign to my heart. [Aside. Good morrow, Portius; let us once embrace, Once more embrace, while 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 son's the last, That e'er sball rise on Roman liberty.
Por. My father has this morning call’d together To this poor ball,
his little Roman senate
(The leavings of Pharsalia), to consult
If he can yet 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. Not all the pomp and majesty of Rome
Can raise her senate more than Cato's presence.
His virtues render our assembly awful,
They strike with something like religious fear,
And make ev'n Cæsar tremble at the head
Of armies flush'd with conquest. Ob, my Portius!
Could I but call that wondrous man my falher,
Would but thy sister Marcia be propitious
To thy friend's vows, I might be blest indeed!
Por. Alas, Sempronius! wouldst 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 I'm charm’d. Thou must take heed, my
The world has all its eyes on Cato's son;
Thy father's merit sets thee ap to view,
And shows thee in the fairest point of light,
To make thy virtues or thy faults copspicuous..
Por. Well dost thou seem to check my liag'ring here
On this important hour-l'll straight away,
And while the fathers of the senate meet
In close debate, to weigh th' events of war,
l'll animate the soldiers' drooping courage
With love of freedom, and contempt of life;
I'll thunder in their ears their country's cause,
And try to rouse up all that's Roman in them.
Tis not in mortals to command success,
But we'll do more, Sempronius; we'll deserve it.
Sem. 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, were he prompt
And eager on it; but he must be spurr'd,
And ev'ry moment quicken'd to the course.
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 show'rs down greatness on his friends, will raise me
To Rome's first honours. If I give up Cato,
I claim, in my reward, his captive daughter.
But Syphax comes
Syph. Sempronius, all is ready ;,
I've sounded my Nuinidians, 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 :
Ev'n while we speak, our conqueror comes on,
And gathers ground upon us ev'ry moment.
Alas! thou know'st not Cæsar's active soul,
With what a dreadful course he rashes on
From war to war.
In vain bas nature form'd Mountains and oceans to oppose his passage ; He bounds o'er all; One day more Will set the victor thund'ring at our gates. But, tell me, hast thou yet drawn o'er young Juba?
That still would recommend thee more to Cæsar,
And challenge better terms.
Syph. Alas! he's lost!
He's lost, Sempronius; all his thoughls are full
Of Cato's virtues—But I'll try once more
(For ev'ry instant I expect him here),
If yet I can subdue those stubborn principles
Of faith and honour, and I know not what,
That have corrupted his Numidian temper,
And struck th' infection into all his soul.
Sem. Be sure to press upon him ev'ry motive.
Juba's surrender, since his father's death,
Would give up Afric into Cæsar's hands,
And make him lord of half the burning zone.
Syph. But is it true, Sempronius, that your senate
Is callid 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 ('lis the surest way); I'll bellow out for Rome, and for my country, And mooth at Cæsar, till I shake the senate. Your cold hypocrisy's a stale device, A worn-out trick: wouldst thou be thought in earnes!. Clothe thy feign'd zeal in rage, in fire, in fury!
Syph. În 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,
Inflame the mutiny, and, underhand,
Blow up their discontents, till they break ont
Unlook'd for, and discharge themselves on Cato.
Remember, Syphax, we must work in haste;
Oh, think what anxious moments
between The birth of plots, and their last fatal periods ! Oh, 'tis a dreadful interval of time, Fill?d up with horror all, and big with death! Destruction hangs on ev'ry word we speak, On every thought, till the concluding stroke Determines all, and closes our design. [Exit.
Syph. I'll try if yet I can reduce to reason This headstrong youth, and make him sporn at Cato. The time is short; Cæsar comès rushing on usBut hold! young Juba sees me, and approaches!
Enter JUBA. Juba. Syphax, I joy to meet thee thus alone. I have observ'd of late thy looks are fallin, O'ercast with gloomy cares and discontent; Then tell me, Syphax, I conjure thee, tell me, What are the thoughts that knit thy brow in frowns, And turn thine eye thus coldly ou thy prince?
Syph. 'Tis nol my talent to conceal my thoughts, Or carry smiles and sunshine in my face, When discontent sits heavy at my heart; I have not yet so much the Roman in me.
Juba. Why dost thou cast out such ungen'rous terms
Against the lords and sov'reigns of the world?
Dost thou not see mankind fall down before them,
And own the force of their superior virtue?
Syph. Gods! where's the worth that sets these people
Above your own Numidia's tawny sons?
Do they with tougher siuews bend the bow?
Or flies the jav'lin swifter to its mark,
Launch'd from the vigour of a Roman arm?
Who like our active African instructs
The fiery steed, and trains bim to his hand ?
Or guides in troops th' embattled elephant
Laden with war? These, these are arts, my prince,
In which your Zama does not stoop to Rome.
Juba. Ihese all are virtues of a meaner rank:
Perfections that are plac'd in bones and nerves.
A Roman soul is bent on higher views.
To make man mild, and sociable to man;
To cultivate the wild, licentious savage,
And break our fierce barbarians into men.
Turn up thy eyes to Cato;
There inay'st thou see to what a godlike height
The Roman virtues lift up mortal man.