MAR. Lucia, thy arm! oh, let me rest upon it! --
The vital blood, that had forsook my heart,
Returns again in such tumultuous tides,
It quite o'ercomes me. Lead to my apartment. -- 85 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 honor,
Thy virtue will excuse my passion for thee,
And make the gods propitious to our love. 90
Exeunt MARCIA and LUCIA.
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! 95 Juba will never at his fate repine; Let Cæsar have the world, if Marcia's mine. Exit.
(A march at a distance.)
Enter CATO and Lucius.
LUC. I stand astonished! what, the bold Sem-pronius!
That still broke foremost through the crowd of patriots,
As with a hurricane of zeal transported,
And virtuous ev'n to madness --
CATO. Trust me, Lucius.
Our civil discords have produced such crimes, 5 Such monstrous crimes, I am surprised at nothing. -- O Lucius! I am sick of this bad world!
The daylight and the sun grow painful to me.
But see where Portius comes! What means this haste? Why are thy looks thus changed?
POR. My heart is grieved. 10 I bring such news as will afflict my father.
CATO. Has Cæsar shed more Roman blood?
POR. Not so.
The traitor Syphax, as within the square
He exercised his troops, the signal given,
Flew off at once with his Numidian horse 15 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 20 Thy brother Marcus acts a Roman's part.
-- 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, 25 The world will still demand her Cato's presence.
In pity to mankind, submit to Cæsar,
And reconcile thy mighty soul to life.
CATO. Would Lucius have me live to swell the
Of Cæsar's slaves, or by a base submission 30 Give up the cause of Rome, and own a tyrant? LUC. The victor never will impose on Cato
Ungen'rous terms. His enemies confess
The virtues of humanity are Cæsar's.
CATO. Curse on his virtues! they've undone his country. 35 Such popular humanity is treason --
But see young Juba! the good youth appears
Full of the guilt of his perfidious subjects.
LUC. Alas! poor prince! his fate deserves compassion.
JUBA. I blush and am confounded to appear 40 Before thy presence, Cato.
CATO. What's thy crime?
JUBA. I'm a Numidian.
CATO. And a brave one too.
Thou hast a Roman soul.
JUBA. Hast thou not heard
Of my false countrymen?
CATO. Alas! young prince,
Falsehood and fraud shoot up in every soil, 45 The product of all climes -- Rome has its Cæsars.
JUBA. 'Tis generous thus to comfort the distressed.
CATO. 'Tis just to give applause where 'tis de-served;
Thy virtue, prince, has stood the test of fortune,
Like purest gold, that, tortured in the furnace, 50 Comes out more bright, and brings forth all its weight.
JUBA. What shall I answer thee? my ravished
O'erflows with secret joy: I'd rather gain
Thy praise, O Cato, than Numidia's empire.
Enter PORTIUS hastily.
POR. Misfortune on misfortune! grief on grief! 55 My brother Marcus --
CATO. Hah! what has he done?
Has he forsook his post? has be giv'n way?
Did he look tamely on, and let 'em pass?
POR. Scarce bad I left my father, but I met him
Borne on the shields of his surviving soldiers, 60 Breathless and pale, and covered o'er with wounds. Long, at the head of his few faithful friends,