Perhaps some arm, mole lucky than the rest, 30 May reach his heart, and free the world from
Rise, fathers, rise! 'tis Rome demands your help;
Rise, and revenge her slaughtered citizens,
Or share their fate! the corps 1 of half her senate
Manure the fields of Thessaly, while we 35 Sit here, delib'rating in cold debates, If we should sacrifice our lives to honor,
Or wear them out in servitude and chains.
Rouse up, for shame! our brothers of Pharsalia
Point at their wounds, and cry aloud, 'To
battle!' 40 Great Pompey's shade complains that we are slow, And Scipio's ghost walks unrevenged amongst us!
CATO. Let not a torrent of impetuous zeal
Transport thee thus beyond the bounds of reason:
True fortitude is seen in great exploits, 45 That justice warrants, and that wisdom guides; All else is tow'ring frenzy and distraction.
Are not the lives of those who draw the sword
In Rome's defence intrusted to our care?
Should we thus lead them to a field of slaughter, 50 Might not th' impartial world with reason say We lavished at our deaths the blood of thousands,
To grace our fall, and make our ruin glorious?
Lucius, we next would know what's your opinion.
Luc. My thoughts, I must confess, are turned on
peace. 55 Already have our quarrels filled the world With widows and with orphans: Scythia mourns
Our guilty wars, and earth's remotest regions
Lie half unpeopled by the feuds of Rome:
'Tis time to sheathe the sword, and spare man-
kind. 60 It is not Cæsar, but the gods, my fathers,
The gods declare against us, and repel
Our vain attempts. To urge the foe to battle,
(Prompted by blind revenge and wild despair)
Were to refuse th' awards of Providence, 65 And not to rest in heav'n's determination. Already have we shown our love to Rome,
Now let us show submission to the gods.
We took up arms, not to revenge ourselves,
But free the commonwealth; when this end fails, 70 Arms have no further use: our country's cause, That drew our swords, now wrests 'era from our
And bids us not delight in Roman blood,
Unprofitably shed; what men could do
Is done already: heav'n and earth will witness, 75 If Rome must fall, that we are innocent.
SEM. (aside to CATO). This smooth discourse and
mild behavior oft
Conceal a traitor -- something whispers me
All is not right -- Cato, beware of Lucius.
CATO. Let us appear nor rash nor diffident: 80 Immoderate valor swells into a fault,
And fear, admitted into public councils,
Betrays like treason. Let us shun 'era both.
Fathers, I cannot see that our affairs
Are grown thus desp'rate. We have bulwarks
round us; 85 Within our walls are troops enured to toil In Afric's heats, and seasoned to the sun;
Numidia's spacious kingdom lies behind us,
Ready to rise at its young prince's call.
While there is hope, do not distrust the gods; 90 But wait at least till Cæsar's near approach
Force--us to yield "Twill never be too late
To sue for chains and own a conqueror.
Why should Rome fall a moment ere her time?
No, let us draw her term of freedom out 95 In its full length, and spin it to the last, So shall we gain still one day's liberty;
And let me perish, but in Cato's judgment,
A day, an hour, of virtuous liberty
Is worth a whole eternity in bondage, 100
MAR. Fathers, this moment, as I watched the
Lodged on my post, a herald is arrived
From Cæsar's camp, and with him comes old Decius,
The Roman knight; he carries in his looks
Impatience, and demands to speak with CATO. 105
CATO. By your permission, fathers, bid him enter.
Decius was once my friend, but other prospects
Have loosed those ties, and bound him fast to Caesar.
His message may determine our resolves.
DEC. Cæsar sends health to CATO.
CATO. Could he send it
To Cato's slaughtered friends, it would be welcome.
Are not your orders to address the senate?
DEc. My business is with Cato: Cæsar sees
The straits to which you're driv'n; and, as he
knows 5 Cato's high worth, is anxious for his life.
CATO. My life is grafted on the fate of Rome:
Would he save Caw? Bid him spare his country.
Tell your dictator this, and tell him, Cato
Disdains a life which he has pow'r to offer, 10
DEC. Rome and her senators submit to Cæsar;
Her gen'rals and her consuls are no more,