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(In spite of all the virtue we can boast,)
The woman that deliberates is lost.1
SEMPRONIUS, dressed like Juba, with Numidian guards. SEM. The deer is lodged. I've tracked her to her covert. Be sure you mind the word, and when I give it, Rush in at once, and seize upon your prey.
Let not her cries or tears have force to move you.
-How will the young Numidian rave, to see
His mistress lost! if aught could glad my soul,
Beyond the enjoyment of so bright a prize,
"Twould be to torture that young gay barbarian.
-But, hark, what noise! death to my hopes! 'tis he,
'Tis Juba's self! there is but one way
He must be murdered, and a passage cut
Through those his guards-Hah! dastards, do you
Or act like men, or by yon azure heaven
JUBA. What do I see? who's this that dare usurp
The guards and habit of Numidia's prince?
SEM. One that was born to scourge thy arrogance,
What can this mean? Sempronius!
SEM. My sword shall answer thee. Have at thy heart.
JUBA. Nay, then beware thy own, proud, barbarous man!
[Sempronius falls. His guards surrender.
SEM. Curse on my stars! am I then doomed to fall
By a boy's hand? disfigured in a vile
Numidian dress, and for a worthless woman?
Gods, I'm distracted! this my close of life!
1 The woman that deliberates is lost.] This line has been thought too free, and injurious to the sex: but it is to be remembered that Marcia is speaking of virtuous love, which vindicates the sentence from such imputations. What, then, it may be asked, is meant by-" In spite of all the virtue we can boast ? clearly, the virtue of firmness, in resolving not to admit a lawful passion in unfit circumstances. But all the virtue of this sort, which the best women can muster up, will hardly keep its ground against deliberation. However, the severe Marcia was lost by surprise, and not by deliberation.
Oh for a peal of thunder that would make
Earth, sea, and air, and heaven, and Cato tremble! [Dies. JUBA. With what a spring his furious soul broke loose, And left the limbs still quivering on the ground! Hence let us carry off those slaves to Cato, That we may there at length unravel all This dark design, this mystery of fate.
Luc. Sure 'twas the clash of swords; my troubled heart
Is so cast down, and sunk amidst its sorrows,
It throbs with fear and aches at every sound.
O Marcia, should thy brothers for my sake!-
I die away with horror at the thought.
MAR. See, Lucia, see! here's blood! here's blood and murder!
Hah! a Numidian! heavens preserve the prince;
The face lies muffled up within the garment.
But, hah! death to my sight; a diadem,
And purple robes! O gods! 'tis he, 'tis he!
Juba, the loveliest youth that ever warmed
A virgin's heart, Juba lies dead before us!
Luc. Now, Marcia, now call up to thy assistance
Thy wonted strength and constancy of mind;
Thou canst not put it to a greater trial.
MAR. Lucia, look there, and wonder at my patience.
Have I not cause to rave, and beat my breast,
To rend my heart with grief, and run distracted?
Luo. What can I think or say to give thee comfort?
MAR. Talk not of comfort, 'tis for lighter ills:
Behold a sight, that strikes all comfort dead.
Enter JUBA, listening.
I will indulge my sorrows, and give way
To all the pangs and fury of despair,
That man, that best of men, deserved it from me.
JUBA. What do I hear? and was the false Sempronius
That best of men? Oh had I fall'n like him,
And could have thus been mourned, I had been happy! Luc. Here will I stand, companion in thy woes,
And help thee with my tears! when I behold
A loss like thine, I half forget my own.
MAR. 'Tis not in fate to ease my tortured breast.
This empty world, to me a joyless desert,
Has nothing left to make poor Marcia happy.
JUBA. I'm on the rack! was he so near her heart?
MAR. Oh! he was all made up of love and charms,
Whatever maid could wish or man admire:
Delight of every eye! when he appeared,
A secret pleasure gladdened all that saw him;
But when he talked, the proudest Roman blushed
To hear his virtues, and old age grew wise.
JUBA. I shall run mad-
O Juba! Juba! Juba!
JUBA. What means that voice? did she not call on Juba?
MAR. Why do I think on what he was! he's dead!
He's dead, and never knew how much I loved him.
Lucia, who knows but his poor bleeding heart,
Amidst its agonies, remembered Marcia,
And the last words he uttered called me cruel!
Alas! he knew not, hapless youth, he knew not
Marcia's whole soul was full of love and Juba.
JUBA. Where am I do I live! or am indeed
What Marcia thinks! all is Elysium round me!
MAR. Ye dear remains of the most loved of men!
Nor modesty nor virtue here forbid
A last embrace, while thus-
-See, Marcia, see,
[Throwing himself before her.
The happy Juba lives! he lives to catch
That dear embrace, and to return it too
With mutual warmth and eagerness of love.
MAR. With pleasure and amaze, I stand transported!
Sure 'tis a dream! dead and alive at once!
If thou art Juba, who lies there?
Disguised like Juba, on a cursed design.
The tale is long, nor have I heard it out.
1 Amaze.] For amazement; a liberty in which the poets of that time indulged themselves. So Pope:
In Tot'nam fields, the brethren, with amaze,
Prick all their ears up, and forget to graze." DUNC. b. ii. 261
Thy father knows it all. I could not bear
To leave thee in the neighbourhood of death,
But flew, in all the haste of love, to find thee:
I found thee weeping, and confess this once,
Am rapt with joy to see my Marcia's tears.
MAR. I've been surprised in an unguarded hour,
But must not now go back: the love, that lay
Half smothered in my breast, has broke through all
Its weak restraints, and burns in its full lustre ;
I cannot, if I would, conceal it from thee.
JUBA. I'm lost in ecstasy! and dost thou love,
Thou charming maid?
And dost thou live to ask it?
JUBA. This, this is life indeed! life worth preserving,
Such life as Juba never felt till now!
MAB. Believe me, prince, before I thought thee dead,
I did not know myself how much I loved thee.
JUBA. Oh fortunate mistake!
Oh happy Marcia!
JUBA. My joy! my best beloved! my only wish!
How shall I speak the transport of my soul?
MAR. Lucia, thy arm! oh let me rest upon it!-
The vital blood, that had forsook my heart,
Returns again in such tumultuous tide,
It quite o'ercomes me. Lead to my apartment.-
O prince! I blush to think what I have said,
But fate has wrested the confession from me;
Go on, and prosper in the paths of honour,
Thy virtue will excuse my passion for thee,
And make the gods propitious to our love.
JUBA. I am so blest, I fear 'tis all a dream.
Fortune, thou now hast made amends for all
Thy past unkindness. I absolve my stars.
What though Numidia add her conquered towns
And provinces to swell the victor's triumph!
Juba will never at his fate repine;
Let Cæsar have the world, if Marcia's mine.
SCENE IV.A march at a distance.
Luo. I stand astonisht! what, the bold Sempronius !
That still broke foremost through the crowd of patriots,
As with a hurricane of zeal transported,
And virtuous even to madness-
Trust me, Lucius,
Our civil discords have produced such crimes,
Such monstrous crimes, I am surprised at nothing.
O Lucius! I am sick of this bad world!
The day-light and the sun grow painful to me.1
But see where Portius comes! What means this haste?
Why are thy looks thus changed?
My heart is grieved.
I bring such news as will afflict my father.
CATO. Has Cæsar shed more Roman blood?
The traitor Syphax, as within the square
He exercised his troops, the signal given,
Flew off at once with his Numidian horse
To the south gate, where Marcus holds the watch.
I saw, and called to stop him, but in vain,
He tossed his arm aloft, and proudly told me,
He would not stay and perish like Sempronius.
CATO. Perfidious men! but haste, my son, and see
Thy brother Marcus acts a Roman's part. [Exit Por.
-Lucius, the torrent bears too hard upon me:
Justice gives way to force: the conquered world
Is Cæsar's: Cato has no business in it.
Luc. While pride, oppression, and injustice reign,
The world will still demand her Cato's
In pity to mankind, submit to Cæsar,
And reconcile thy mighty soul to life.
CATO. Would Lucius have me live to swell the number
Of Cæsar's slaves, or by a base submission
Give up the cause of Rome, and own a tyrant?
Luc. The victor never will impose on Cato
Ungenerous terms. His enemies confess
The virtues of humanity are Cæsar's.
CATO. Curse on his virtues! they've undone his country.
Such popular humanity is treason—
But see young Juba! the good youth appears
The day-light and the sun, &c.] "Tædet cœli convexa tueri."
VIRG. NEID. lib. iv. 451.