Syphax, I long to clasp that haughty maid,
And bend her stubborn virtue to my passion: 15 When I have gone thus far, I'd cast her off.
SYPH. Well said! that's spoken like thyself, Sem-pronius.
What hinders then, but that thou find her out,
And hurry her away by manly force?
SEM. But how to gain admission? for access 20 Is given to none but Juba and her brothers.
SYPH. Thou shalt have Juba's dress and Juba's
The doors will open, when Numidia's prince
Seems to appear before the slaves that watch them.
SEM. Heav'ns, what a thought is there! Marcia's my own! 25 How will my bosom swell with anxious joy,
When I behold her struggling in my arms,
With glowing beauty and disordered charms,
While fear and anger, with alternate grace,
Pant in her breast, and vary in her face! 30 So Pluto, seized of1 Proserpine, conveyed To hell's tremendous gloom th' affrighted maid,
There grimly smiled, pleased with the beauteous prize,
Nor envied Jove his sunshine and his skies. [Exeunt.]
LUCIA and MARCIA.
LUC. Now tell me, Marcia, tell me from thy soul,
If thou believ'st 'tis possible for woman
To suffer greater ills than Lucia suffers?
MAR. O Lucia, Lucia, might my big-swoln heart
Vent all its griefs, and give a loose to sorrow: 5 Marcia could answer thee in sighs, keep pace With all thy woes, and count out tear for tear.
LUC. I know thou'rt doomed, alike, to be beloved
By Juba and thy father's friend, Sempronius;
But which of these has power to charm like Portius? 10
MAR. Still must I beg thee not to name Sem-pronius?
Lucia, I like not that loud, boist'rous man;
Juba to all the bravery of a hero
Adds softest love, and more than female sweetness;
Juba might make the proudest of our sex, 15 Any of womankind, but Marcia, happy.
LUC. And why not Marcia? come, you strive in
To hide your thoughts from one who knows too well
The inward glowings of a heart in love.
MAR. While Cato lives, his daughter has no right 20
To love or hate, but as his choice directs.
LUC. But should this father give you to Sempronius?
MAR. I dare not think he will: but if he should --
Why wilt thou add to all the griefs I suffer
Imaginary ills, and fancied tortures? 25 I hear the sound of feet! they march this way! Let us retire, and try if we can drown
Each softer thought in sense of present danger.
When love once pleads admission to our hearts,
(In spite of all the virtue we can boast) 30 The woman that deliberates is lost. Exeunt.
Enter SEMPRONIUS, dressed like JUBA, with Numidian
SEM. The deer is lodged. I've tracked her to
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 5 His mistress lost! if aught could glad my soul, Beyond th' 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 left -- 10 He must be murdered, and a passage cut Through those his guards -- Hah! dastards, do you tremble!
Or act like men, or by yon azure heav'n --
JUBA. What do I see? who's this that dare usurp
The guards and habits of Numidia's prince? 15
SEM. One that was born to scourge thy arrogance,
JUBA. What can this mean? Sempronius!
SEM. My sword shall answer thee. Have at thy heart.
JUBA. Nay, then beware thy own, proud, barb'rous man!
(SEMPRONIUS falls. His Guards surrender.)
SEM. Curse on my stars! am I then doomed to fall 20
By a boy's hand, disfigured in a vile
Numidian dress, and for a worthless woman?
Gods, I'm distracted! this my dose of life!
Oh, for a peal of thunder that would make
Earth, sea, and air, and heav'n, and Cato tremble! (Dies.) 25
JUBA. With what a spring his furious soul broke
And left the limbs still quiv'ring on the ground!
Hence let us carry off those slaves to Cato,