« AnteriorContinua »
The pomps and pleasures that his soul can with, ,
His rigid virtue will accept
Syph. Believe me, prince, there's not an African
That traverses our vaft Numidian deferts
In quest of prey, and lives upon his bow,
But better practises these boasted virtues.
Coarse are his meals, the fortune of the chase,
Amidst the running stream he flakes his thirst,
Toils all the day, and at th' approach of night
On the first friendly bank he throws him down,
Or rests his head upon a rock till morn:
Then rises fresh, pursues his wonted game,
And if the following day he chance to find
A new repaft, or an untasted spring,
Blesses his stars, and thinks it luxury.
Jur. Thy prejudices, Syphax, won't discern
What virtues grow from ignorance and choice,
Nor how the hero differs from the brute.
But grant that others could with equal glory
Look down on pleasures, and the baits of sense ;
Where shall we find the man that bears affliction,
Great and majestic in his griefs, like Cato?
Heav'ns! with what strength, what steadiness of mind,
He triumphs in the midst of all his suff'rings!
How does he rise againft a load of woes,
And thank the gods that threw the weight upon him !
Syph. 'Tis pride, rank pride, and haughtiness of soul : I think the Romans call it stoicism. Had not your royal father thought fo highly Of Roman virtue, and of Cato's cause, He had not fall’n by a slave's hand, inglorious : Nor would his flaughter'd army now have lain
On Afric fands disfigur'd with their wounds,
To gorge the wolves and vultures of Numidia.
JUB. Why dost thou call my sorrows up afresh ?
My father's name brings tears into mine eyes.
Syph. Oh, that you'd profit by your father's ills !
JUB. What would'st thou have me do?
SYPH. Abandon Cato.
JUB: Syphax, I should be more than twice an orphan By such a loss.
Syph. Ay, there's the tie that binds you!
You long to call him father. Marcia's charms
Work in your heart unseen, and plead for Cato.
No wonder you are deaf to all I say.
JUB. Syphax, your zeal becomes importunate;
I've hitherto permitted it to ravé,
And talk at large; but learn to keep it in,
Left it should take more freedom than I'll give it.
Syph. Sir, your great father never us'd me thus.
Alas, he's dead ! but can you e'er forget
The tender sorrows and the pangs of nature,
The fond embraces, and repeated blessings,
you drew from him in your last farewel ?
Still muft I cherish the dear, fad remembrance,
At once to torture, and to please my soul.
*The good old King at parting wrung my hand,
(His eyes brim full of tears) then fighing cry'd,
Pr’ythee be careful of my son !His grief
Swell'd so high, he could not utter more.
JUB. Alas, the story melts away my foul.
That best of fathers ! how shall I discharge
The gratitude and duty which I owe him?
Syph. By laying up his counsels in your heart.
Jus. His counsels bade me yield to thy directions:
Then, Syphax, chide me in severest terms,
Vent all thy passion, and I'll ftand its shock,
Calm and unruffled' as a summer sea,
When not a breath of wind Alies o'er its surface.
Syph. Alas, my prince, I'd guide you to your safety!
JUB. I do believe thou wouldft; but tell me how?
Syph. Fly from the fate that follows Cæsar's foes.
Jus. My father scorn'd to do it.
SYPH. And therefore dy'd.
JUB. Better to die ten thoufand deaths,
Than wound my honour.
Syph. Rather say you love.
JUB. Syphax, I've promis’d to preserve my temper; Why wilt thou urge me to confess a flame I long have stifled, and would fain conceal ?
Syph. Believe me, prince, tho' hard to conquer love,
"Tis easy to divert and break its furce :
Absence might cure it, or a second mistress
Light up another fame, and put out this.
The glowing dames of Zama's royal court
Have faces Aufh'd with more exalted charms ;
The sun that rolls his chariot o'er their heads,
Works up more fire and colour in their checks :
Were you with these, my prince, you'd foon forget
The pale, unripen'd beauties of the North.
JUB. "T'is not a set of features, or complexion,
The tincture of a kin that I admire.
Beauty foon grows familiar to the lover,
Fades in his eye, and palls upon the sense.
The virtuous Marcia tow'rs above her sex:
True, the is fair (Oh, how divinely fair!)
But fill the lovely maid improves her charms,
With inward greatness, unaffected wisdom,
And fanctity of manners. Cato's soul
Shines out in ev'ry thing she acts or speaks,
While winning mildness and attractive smiles
Dwell in her looks, and with becoming grace
Soften the rigour of her father's virtues.
Syph. How does your tongue grow wanton in her praise !
T must be fo-Plato, thou reason'st well
Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire,
This longing after immortality?
Or whence this secret dread, and inward horror,
Of falling into nought? Why shrinks the foui
Back on herself, and startles at destruction ?
'Tis the Divinity that stirs within us;
'Tis Heav'n itself that points out an hereafter,
And intimates eternity to man.
Eternity! thou pleasing, dreadful, thought!
Thro' what variety of untry'd being,
Thro’ what new scenes and changes must we pass !
The wide, th' unbounded prospect lies before me;
But shadows, clouds, and darkness, reft upon it.
Here will I hold. If there's a pow'r above us,
(And that there is, all Nature cries aloud
Thro' all her works) he must delight in virtue ;
And that which he delights in, must be happy.
But when? or where :- This world was made for Cæfar,
I'm weary of conjectures--this muit end 'em.
Thus am I doubly arm’d.-My death and life,
My bane and antidote, are both before me.
This in a moment brings me to an end ;
But this informs me I shall never die.
The foul, fecur'd in her existence, smiles
At the drawn dagger, and defies its point:
The stars înall fade away, the sun himself
Grow dim with age, and nature fink in years ;
But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds.
Officer. Y Lord,
We bring an order for your execution,
And hope you are prepar'd; for you must die
South. Indeed! the time is sudden!
Ess. Is death th' event of all my Aatter'd hope?
False Sex ! and Queen more perjur'd than them all!
But die I will without the least complaint,
My soul shall vanish silent as the dew,
Attracted by the fun from verdant fields,
And leaves of weeping flowers--Come, my dear friend,
Partner in fate, give me thy body in
These faithful arms, and O now let me tell thee,
And you, my Lords, and Heaven my witness too,