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my friends and fellow-soldiers may be safe.
1 Lead. We all are safe, Sempronius is our friend. Sempronius is as brave a man as Cato.
But hark! he enters. Bear up boldly to him; be sure you beat him down, and bind him fast: this day will end our toils, and give us rest; fear nothing, for Sempronius is our friend.
Enter CATO, SEMPRONIUS, LUCIUS, PORTIUS, and MARCUS.
Cato. Where are these bold intrepid sons of war, that greatly turn their backs upon the foe, and to their general send a brave defiance?
Sem. Curse on their dastard souls they stand as tonish'd!
[Aside. Cato. Perfidious men! and will you thus dishonour your past exploits, and sully all your wars? do you confess 't was not a zeal for Rome, nor love of liberty, nor thirst of honour, drew you thus far; but hopes to share the spoil of conquer'd towns, and plunder'd provinces ? fir'd with such motives you do well to join with Cato's foes, and follow Cæsar's banners. Why did I 'scape th' invenom'd aspic's rage, and all the fiery monsters of the desart, to see this day? Why could not Cato fall without your guilt? Behold, ungrateful men, behold my bosom naked to your swords, and let the man that 's injur'd strike the blow. Which of you all suspects that he is wrong'd, or thinks he suffers greater ills than Cato? am I distinguish'd from you but by toils, superior toils, and heavier weight of cares! painful pre-eminence!
By heavens, they droop!
confusion to the villains! all is lost.
Cato. Have you forgotten Lybia's burning waste, it's barren rocks, parch'd earth, and hills of sand, it's tainted air, and all it's broods of poison? Who was the first t' explore th' untrodden path, when life was hazarded in every step?
or, fainting in the long laborious march, when on the banks of an unlook'd-for stream you sunk the river with repeated draughts, Who was the last in all your host that thirsted? Sem. If some penurious source by chance appear'd scanty of waters, when you scoop'd it dry, and offer'd the full helmet up to Cato,
did not he dash the untasted moisture from him? did not he lead you through the mid-day sun, and clouds of dust? Did not his temples glow in the same sultry winds, and scorching heats? Cato. Hence, worthless men! hence! and complain you could not undergo the toils of war, [to Cæsar not bear the hardships that your leader bore. Luc. See, Cato, see th' unhappy men! they weep! fear and remorse, and sorrow for their crime, appear in every look, and plead for mercy.
Cato. Learn to be honest men; give up your leadand pardon shall descend on all the rest.
[ers, Sem. Cato, commit these wretches to my care. First let them each be broken on the rack, then, with what life remains, impal'd, and left to writhe at leisure round the bloody stake. There let them hang, and taint the southern wind. The partners of their crime will learn obedience, when they look up and see their fellow-traitors stuck on a fork, and blackening in the sun.
Luc. Sempronius, why, why wilt thou urge the fate
of wretched men?
How! would'st thou clear rebellion! Lucius (good man) pities the poor offenders that would imbrue their hands in Cato's blood. Cato. Forbear, Sempronius!-See they suffer death, but in their deaths remember they are men. Strain not the laws to make their tortures grievous. Lucius, the base degenerate age requires severity and justice in it 's rigour;
this awes an impious, bold, offending world, commands obedience, and gives force to laws. When by just vengeance guilty mortals perish, the gods behold their punishment with pleasure, and lay th' uplifted thunder-bolt aside.
Sem. Cato, I execute thy will with pleasure. Cato. Mean-while we'll sacrifice to liberty. Remember, O my friends, the laws, the rights, the generous plan of power deliver'd down, from age to age, by your renown'd forefathers, (so dearly bought, the price of so much blood) O let it never perish in your hands! but piously transmit it to your children. Do thou, great Liberty, inspire our souls, and make our lives in thy possession happy, or our deaths glorious in thy just defence.
[Exeunt Cato, &c. SEMPRONIUS and the LEADERS of the Mutiny. 1 Lead. Sempronius you have acted like yourself, one would have thought you had been half in earnest. Sem. Villain, stand off! base grovelling worthless wretches,
mongrels in faction, poor faint-hearted traitors!
2 Lead. Nay, now you carry it too far, Sempronius throw off the mask, there are none here but friends.
Sem. Know, villains, when such paltry slaves preto mix in treason, if the plot succeeds,
they're thrown neglected by; but if it fails,
they're sure to die like dogs, as you shall do. Here, take these factious monsters, drag them forth to sudden death.
Nay, since it comes to this
Sem. Dispatch them quick; but first pluck out their tongues,
lest with their dying breath they sow sedition.
[Exeunt Guards with the Leaders.
Syph. Our first design, my friend, has prov'd aborstill there remains an after-game to play: [tive; my troops are mounted; their Numidian steeds snuff up the wind, and long to scower the desart; let but Sempronius head us in our flight, we'll force the gate where Marcus keeps his guard, and hew down all that would oppose our passage, a day will bring us into Cæsar's camp.
Sem. Confusion! I have fail'd of half my purpose. Marcia, the charming Marcia 's left behind!
Syph. How will Sempronius turn a woman's slave? Sem. Think not thy friend can ever feel the soft unmanly warmth, and tenderness of love. Syphax, I long to clasp that haughty maid, and bend her stubborn virtue to my passion; when I have gone thus far, I'd cast her off. [pronius. Syph. Well said! that 's spoken like thyself, SemWhat hinders then, but that thou find her out, and hury her away by manly force?
Sem. But how to gain admission? For access
is given to none but Juba, and her brothers.
Syph. Thou shalt have Juba's dress, and Juba's the doors will open, when Numidia's Prince [guards: seems to appear before the slaves that watch them. Sem. Heavens, what a thought is there! Marcia's my how will my bosom swell with anxious joy, when I behold her struggling in my arms, with glowing beauty, and disorder'd charms, while fear and anger, with alternate grace, pant in her breast, and vary in her face! So Pluto, seiz'd of Proserpine, convey'd to hell's tremendous gloom th' affrighted maid, there grimly smil'd, pleas'd with the beauteous prize, nor envy'd Jove his sun-shine and his skies.
ACT IV. SCENE. I.
LUCIA and MARCIA.
Luc. Now tell me, Marcia, tell me from thy soul; if thou believ'st it possible for woman
to suffer greater ills than Lucia suffers?
Marc. O Lucia, Lucia, might my big swoln heart vent all it's griefs, and give a loose to sorrow; Marcia could answer thee in sighs, keep pace with all thy woes, and count out tear for tear. Luc. I know thou 'rt doom'd alike to be belov'd by Juba, and thy father's friend Sempronius; but which of these has power to charm like Portius! Marc. Still must I beg thee not to name SemproLucia, I like not that loud boisterous man: Enius? Juba to all the bravery of a hero,
adds softest love, and more than female sweetness; Juba might make the proudest of our sex,
any of woman-kind, but Marcia, happy.