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Dry up thy tears, my child, we all are safe
While Cato lives-his presence will protect us.
JUBA. Lucius, the horsemen are returned from viewing
The number, strength, and posture of our foes,
Who now encamp within a short hour's march.
On the high point of yon bright western tower
We ken them from afar, the setting sun
Plays on their shining arms and burnished helmets,
And covers all the field with gleams of fire.
Luo. Marcia, 'tis time we should awake thy father.
Cæsar is still disposed to give us terms,
And waits at distance till he hears from Cato.
Portius, thy looks speak somewhat of importance,
What tidings dost thou bring? methinks I see
Unusual gladness sparkling in thy eyes.
POR. As I was hasting to the port, where now
My father's friends, impatient for a passage,
Accuse the lingering winds, a sail arrived
From Pompey's son, who through the realms of Spain
Calls out for vengeance on his father's death,
And rouses the whole nation up to arms.
Were Cato at their head, once more might Rome
Assert her rights, and claim her liberty.
But, hark! what means that groan! Oh give me way,
And let me fly into my father's presence. [Exit Portius.
Luc. Cato, amidst his slumbers, thinks on Rome,
And in the wild disorder of his soul
Mourns o'er his country.-Hah! a second groan!-
Heaven guard us all-
Alas! 'tis not the voice
Of one who sleeps! 'tis agonizing pain,
"Tis death is in that sound-
Oh sight of woe!
O Marcia, what we feared is come to pass!
Cato is fall'n upon his sword-
Hide all the horrors of thy mournful tale,
And let us guess the rest.
I've raised him up,
And placed him in his chair, where, pale and faint,
He gasps for breath, and, as his life flows from him,
Demands to see his friends. His servants weeping,
Obsequious to his orders, bear him hither.
[The back scene opens, and discovers Cato.
MAR. O heaven, assist me in this dreadful hour
To pay the last sad duties to my father.
JUBA. These are thy triumphs, thy exploits, O Cæsar!
Luc. Now is Rome fall'n indeed!-
[Cato brought forward in his chair.
Here set me down-
Portius, come near me-are my friends embarked?
Can anything be thought of for their service?
Whilst I yet live, let me not live in vain.
-O Lucius, art thou here ?-thou art too good!—
Let this our friendship live between our children;
Make Portius happy in thy daughter Lucia.
Alas! poor man, he weeps !—Marcia, my daughter-
-Oh bend me forward !-Juba loves thee, Marcia.
A senator of Rome, while Rome survived,
Would not have match'd his daughter with a king,
But Cæsar's arms have thrown down all distinction;
Whoe'er is brave and virtuous, is a Roman.—
-I'm sick to death-Oh when shall I get loose
From this vain world, the abode of guilt and sorrow!
-And yet methinks a beam of light breaks in
On my departing soul. Alas! I fear
I've been too hasty. O ye powers that search
The heart of man, and weigh his inmost thoughts,
If I have done amiss, impute it not !-
The best may err, but you are good, and-oh!
Luc. There fled the greatest soul that ever warmed
A Roman breast. O Cato! O my friend!
Thy will shall be religiously observed.
But let us bear this awful corpse to Cæsar,
And lay it in his sight, that it may stand
1 Alas! I fear I've been too hasty.] This sentiment is not in character, but the amiable author, ever attentive to the interests of religion and virtue, chose, for the sake of these, to violate decorum.
A fence betwixt us and the victor's wrath;
Cato, though dead, shall still protect his friends.
From hence, let fierce contending nations know
What dire effects from civil discord flow.
'Tis this that shakes our country with alarms,
And gives up Rome a prey to Roman arms,
Produces fraud, and cruelty, and strife,
And robs the guilty world of Cato's life.
SPOKEN BY MRS. PORTER.
WHAT odd fantastic things we women do!
Who would not listen when young lovers woo?
But die a maid, yet have the choice of two!
Ladies are often cruel to their cost;
To give you pain, themselves they punish most.
Vows of virginity should well be weighed;
Too oft they're cancelled, though in convents made.
Would you revenge such rash resolves-you may:
Be spiteful-and believe the thing we say;
We hate you when you're easily said nay.
How needless, if you knew us, were your fears!
Let love have eyes, and beauty will have ears.
Our hearts are formed as you yourselves would choose,
Too proud to ask, too humble to refuse :
We give to merit, and to wealth we sell ;
He sighs with most success that settles well.
The woes of wedlock with the joys we mix;
'Tis best repenting in a coach and six.
Blame not our conduct, since we but pursue
Those lively lessons we have learn'd from you:
Your breasts no more the fire of beauty warms,
But wicked wealth usurps the power of charms;
What pains to get the gaudy thing you hate,
To swell in show, and be a wretch in state!
At plays you ogle, at the ring you bow;
Ev'n churches are no sanctuaries now:
There, golden idols all your vows receive,
She is no goddess that has nought to give.
Oh, may once more the happy age appear,
When words were artless, and the thoughts sincere;
When gold and grandeur were unenvied things,
And courts less coveted than groves and springs.
Love then shall only mourn when truth complains,
And constancy feel transport in its chains;
Sighs with success their own soft anguish tell,
And eyes shall utter what the lips conceal;
Virtue again to its bright station climb,
And beauty fear no enemy but time;
The fair shall listen to desert alone,
And every Lucia find a Cato's son.
ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCESS OF WALES,
WITH THE TRAGEDY OF CATO, NOV. 1714.
THE muse that oft, with sacred raptures fired,
Has generous thoughts of liberty inspired,
And, boldly rising for Britannia's laws,
Engaged great Cato in her country's cause,1
On you submissive waits, with hopes assured,
By whom the mighty blessing stands secured,
And all the glories that our age adorn,
Are promised to a people yet unborn.
No longer shall the widowed land bemoan
A broken lineage, and a doubtful throne;
But boast her royal progeny's increase,
And count the pledges of her future peace.
1 Engaged great Cato in her country's cause.] Some little disingenuity has been charged on the author from this line (see Pope's Works, Ep. to Aug. v. 215, Mr. Warburton's edition,) nor can I wholly acquit him of it. The truth, however, seems to be this: Mr. A. had no party-views in composing this tragedy; and he was only solicitous (whatever his friends might be) to secure the suffrage of both parties, when it was brought on the stage. But the public would only see it in a political light: and was it to be wondered at, that a poet, in a dedication too, should take advantage of the general voice, to make a merit of his imputed patriotism, with the new family? How spotless must that muse be, that, in passing through a court, had only contracted this slight stain, even in the opinion of so severe a censor and casuist as Mr. Pope!
O, born to strengthen and to grace our isle!
While you, fair PRINCESS, in your offspring smile,
Supplying charms to the succeeding age,
Each heavenly daughter's triumphs we presage;
Already see the illustrious youths complain,
And pity monarchs doomed to sigh in vain.
Thou too, the darling of our fond desires,
Whom Albion, opening wide her arms, requires,
With manly valour and attractive air
Shalt quell the fierce and captivate the fair.
O England's younger hope! in whom conspire.
The mother's sweetness and the father's fire!
For thee perhaps, ev'n now, of kingly race,
Some dawning beauty blooms in every grace,
Some Carolina, to heaven's dictates true,
Who, while the sceptred rivals vainly sue,
Thy inborn worth with conscious eyes shall see,
And slight the imperial diadem for thee.
Pleased with the prospect of successive reigns,
The tuneful tribe no more in daring strains
Shall vindicate, with pious fears opprest,
Endangered rights, and liberty distrest:
To milder sounds each muse shall tune the lyre,
And gratitude, and faith to kings inspire,
And filial love; bid impious discord cease,
And soothe the madding factions into peace;
Or rise ambitious in more lofty lays,
And teach the nation their new monarch's praise,
Describe his awful look and godlike mind,
And Cæsar's power with Cato's virtue joined.
Meanwhile, bright Princess, who, with graceful ease
And native majesty, are formed to please,
Behold those arts with a propitious eye,
That suppliant to their great protectress fly!
Then shall they triumph, and the British stage
Improve her manners and refine her rage,
More noble characters expose to view,
And draw her finished heroines from you.
Nor you the kind indulgence will refuse, Skilled in the labours of the deathless muse: The deathless muse with undiminished rays Through distant times the lovely dame conveys: