BY JOSEPH ADDISON
POR. The dawn is overcast, the morning, low'rs,
And heavily clouds bring on the day,
The great, th' important day, big with the fate
Of Cato and of Rome. Our father's death
|Would fill up all the guilt of civil war||5|
Has ravaged more than half the globe, and sees
Mankind grown thin by his destructive sword:
Should he go further, numbers would be wanting
|To form new battles and support his crimes.||10|
MAR. Thy steady temper, Portius,
Can look on guilt, rebellion, fraud, and Cæesar,
In the calm lights of mild philosophy;
|I'm tortured, ev'n to madness, when I think||15|
Th' insulting tyrant prancing o'er the field
Strowed with Rome's citizens, and drenched in
|His horse's hoofs wet with patrician blood.||20|
Red with uncommon wrath, to blast the man
Who owes his greatness to his country's ruin?
POR. Believe me, Marcus, 'tis an impious great-
Through the dark cloud of ills that cover him,
Break out, and burn with more triumphant bright-
His suff'rings shine, and spread a glory round
His sword ne'er fell but on the guilty head;
Oppression, tyranny, and power usurped,
|Draw all the vengeance of his arm upon 'em.||35|
MAR. Who knows not this? But what can Cato
Against a world, a base, degenerate world
That courts the yoke, and bows the neck to Cæsar?
Pent up in Utica he vainly forms
|A poor epitome of Roman greatness,||40|
Remnants of mighty battles fought in vain.
By heav'ns, such virtues, joined with such success,
|Distract my very soul: our father's fortune||45|
POR. Remember what our father oft has told us:
The ways of heav'n are dark and intricate,
Puzzled in mazes and perplext with errors;
|Our understanding traces 'em in vain,||50|
Nor where the regular confusion ends.
MAR. These are suggestions of a mind at ease;
|O Portius! didst thou taste but half the griefs||55|
Passion unpitied and successless love
Plant daggers in my heart, and aggravate
My other griefs. Were but my Lucia kind!--
POR. (aside). Thou seest not that thy brother is
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||65|
MAR. Portius, the counsel which I cannot take,
Instead of healing, but upbraids my weakness.
|Bid me for honor plunge into a war||70|
To follow glory and confess his father.
Love is not to be reasoned down, or lost
|In high ambition and a thirst of greatness;||75|
I feel it here: my resolution melts --
POR. Behold young Juba, the Numidian prince!
|With how much care he forms himself to glory,||80|
He loves our sister Marcia, greatly loves her,____________________
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Publication information: Book title: British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan. Contributors: George Henry Nettleton - Editor, Arthur Eillicot Case - Editor. Publisher: Boston ; Houghton Mifflin company,.. Place of publication: Boston; New York. Publication year: 1939. Page number: 481.
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