To hear of parting, think what Lucia suffers!
POR. 'Tis true; unruffled and serene I've met
The common accidents of life, but here
Such an unlooked-for storm of ills fails on me,
It beats down all my strength. I cannot bear it. 120 We must not part.
LUC. What dost thou say? not part?
Hast thou forgot the vow that I have made?
Are there not heav'ns, and gods, and thunder o'er us?
-- But see! thy brother Marcus bends this way!
I sicken at the sight. Once more, farewell, 125 Farewell, and know thou wrong'st me, if thou think'st
Ever was love, or ever grief, like mine. Exit.
MAR. Portius, what hopes? how stands she? am I
To life or death?
POR. What wouldst thou have me say?
MAR. What means this pensive posture? thou
Like one amazed and terrified.
POR. I've reason.
MAR. Thy downcast looks and thy disordered thoughts 5 Tell me my fate. I ask not the success My cause has found.
POR. I'm grieved I undertook it.
MAR. What! does the barb'rous maid insult my
My aching heart! and triumph in my pains?
That I could cast her from my thoughts for ever! 10
POR. Away! you're too suspicious in your griefs;
Lucia, though sworn never to think of love,
Compassionates your pains, and pities you!
MAR. Compassionates my pains, and pities me!
What is compassion when 'tis void of love? 15 Fool that I was to choose so cold a friend To urge my cause! compassionate my pains!
Prithee what art, what rhetoric didst thou use
To gain this mighty boon? She pities me!
To one that asks the warm return of love, 20 Compassion's cruelty, 'tis scorn, 'tis death --
POR. Marcus, no more! have I deserved this treatment?
MAR. What have I said! O Portius, oh, forgive me!
A soul exasp'rated in ills fails out
With ev'rything, its friend, its self -- but, hah! 25 What means that shout, big with the sounds of war? What new alarm?
POR. A second, louder yet,
Swells in the winds, and comes more full upon us.
MAR. Oh, for some glorious cause to fall in battle!
Lucia, thou hast undone me! thy disdain 30 Has broke my heart: 'tis death must give me ease.
POR. Quick, let us hence; who knows if Cato's life
Stand sure? O Marcus, I am warmed; my heart
Leaps at the trumpet's voice, and burns for glory.
Enter SEMPRONIUS with the Leaders of the mutiny.
SEM. At length the winds are raised, the storm
Be it your care, my friends, to keep it up
In its full fury, and direct it right,
Till it has spent itself on Cato's head.
Meanwhile I'll herd among his friends, and seem 5 One of the number, that whate'er arrive, My friends and fellow soldiers may be safe. [Exit.]
FIRST 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; 10 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, LUCUIS, 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. (aside). Curse on their dastard souls, they stand astonished!
CATO. Perfidious men! and will you thus dishonor 5 Your past exploits, and sully all your wars?
Do you confess 'twas not a zeal for Rome,
Nor love of liberty, nor thirst of honor,
Drew you thus far; but hopes to share the spoil
Of conquered towns and plundered provinces? 10 Fired with such motives you do well to join With Cato's foes, and follow Cæsar's banners.
Why did I scape the invenomed aspic's rage,
And all the fiery monsters of the desert,
To see this day? why could not Cato fall 15 Without your guilt? Behold, ungrateful men, Behold my bosom naked to your swords,
And let the man that's injured strike the blow.
Which of you all suspects that he is wronged,
Or thinks he suffers greater ills than Cato? 20 Am I distinguished from you but by toils, Superior toils, and heavier weight of cares?