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Did glut' himself again : a meal was bought
With blood; I and each sat sullenly apart, I
Gorging himself in gloom. I
No love' was left ; |
All earth was but one thought'; I and that was death,
Immediate, and inglo'rious; I and the pang
Of famine | fed upon all en trails. | Men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh' ; !
The meager by the meager were devour'd. I
E’en dogs' assail'd their inas'ters; i all, save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, I and kept
The birds, and beasts, I and famish'd men at bay', 1
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead i
Lured their lank jaws. | Himself sought out noi food,
But with a piteous, and perpetual moan,
And a quick, desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answer'd not with a caress, | he died. 1
The crowd was famish'd by degrees. ; but two
Of an enormous city, I did survive ; 1
And they were enemies. | They met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place,
Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things /
For an unholy u'sage: they rak'd up,
And, shivering, scrap'd with their cold skeleton hands,
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery. | Then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter', and beheld
Each other's as'pecis- saw', and shriek'd, and died, :.
E'en of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow |
Famine had written fiend. I
The world was void ; 1 The populous, and the powerful was* a Jump, |
• Some, being anxious to correct what is already right, have substituted were for was.
Sca'sonless, I herb less, / treeless, i man'less, I life less-
A lump of death' - a chaos of hard clay.
The riv'ers, lakes', and o'cean, I all stood still.; 1
And nothing stirr'd within their silent depths. 1
Ships, sailorless, i lay rotting on the sea'; 1
And their masts fell down piece-meal; as they dropp'd,
They slept on the abyss, without a surge. - 1
The waves were dead; I the tides were in their grave,
The moon, their mistress, I had expired before ; ||
The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air;
And the clouds perish'd. - Darkness had no need
Of aid from them — she .. was the universe.
(Addison.) Lucius, Sempronius, and Senators. Semp. Rome still survives in this assembl'd sen ate! | Let us remember we are Ca'to's friends, And act like men who claim that glorious title.
Luc. Cato will soon be here',' and open to us The occasion of our meeting. | Hark! | he comes! |
(Flourish of Trumpets. May all the guardian gods of Rome direct him!!
[Enter Cato.] Cato. Fathers, we once again are met in councilCæsar's approach has summon'd us together;! And Rome attends her fate from our resolves. I How shall we treat this bold aspiring man ? 1 Success still follows him, I and backs his crimes : 1 Pharsalia gave him Rome'; ' Egypt has since Receiv'd his yoke;' and the whole Nile'is Cæsar's. Why should I mention Juba's overthrow, And Scipio's death? | Numidia's burning sands Suill smoke with blood. ; 'Tis time we should decree What course to take. ! Our foe advan'ces on us, And envies us e'en Libya's sultry des.erts.
Fathers, I pronounce your thoughts are they still fixtl
To hold it out, I and fight it to the last ? ||
Or are your hearts subdu'd at length, / and wrought
By time, and ill success, to a submission? |
Sempronius, speak. |
My voice is still for war. I
Can a Roman senate long debate
Which of the two to choose - slav'ry, or death' ? |
No — | let us rise at once', gird on our swords',
And, at the head of our remaining troops,
Attack the foe', ! break through the thick array
Of his throng'd legions, and charge home' upon him: /
Perhaps some arm, more lucky than the rest,
May reach his heart', i and free the world from bondage.
Rise', fathers, | rise'! | 'Tis Rome demands your help; 1
Rise, and revenge her slaughter'd citizens,
Or share their fate.! | The corpse of half her sen'ate, 1
Manure the fields of Thessaly, i while we
Sit here deliberating in cold debates, I
Whether to sacrifice our lives to honor,
Or wear them out in servitude, and chains. I
Rouse up', for shame'! our brothers of Pharsalia /
Point at their wounds', / and cry aloud - 1 to battle!
Great Pompey's shade complains that we are slow'; /
And Scipio's ghost | walks unreveng'd' 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 / That justice warrants, I and that wisdom guides -1 All else is tow'ring frenzy and distraction. I Are not the lives of those who draw the sword In Rome's defence, I intrusted to our care? | Should we thus lead them to a field of slaughter, 1 Might not the impartial world, ' with reason, say,! We lavish'd at our deaths' the blood of thou'sands, 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 turn'd on peace.
Already have our quarrels / fill'd the world
With widows, and with orphans: | Scythia mourns
Our guilty wars, I and earth's remotest regions
Lie half unpeopled by the feuds of Rome. —
"T is time to sheathe the sword, I and spare mankind.
It is not Cæsar, but the gods', my fathers,
The gods declare against us, I and repel
Our vain attempts. | To urge the foe to battle, I
Prompted by blind revenge, and wild despair, 1
Were to refuse the awards of providence, |
And not to rest in heavı'n's determination.
Already have we shown our love to Rome, - 1
Now let us show submission to the gods.
We took up arms, not to revenge' ourselves,
But free the commonwealth :/ when this end fails,
Arms have no further use. | Our country's cause, 1
That drew our swords, now wrests them from our hands,
And bids us not delight in Roman blood,
Unprofitably shed. Ī What men could do,
Is done already :] heaven, and earth will witness,
If Rome must fall, | that we are innocent. I
Semp. This smooth discourse, and mild behavior, oft
Conceal a traitor — something whispers me
All is not right. — 1 Cato, beware of Lucius. I
[Aside to Cato.
Cato. Let us be neither rash nor diffident - 1
Immod'rate valor swells into a fault'; 1
And fear, admitted into public councils,
Betrays like treason. | Let us shun them both.
Fathers, I cannot see that our affairs
Are grown thus desp'rate — we have bul'warks!
round us : 1
Within our walls, I are troops, inured to toil
In Afric's heat, I and season'd to the sun'-1
Numidia's spacious kingdom lies behind us,
Ready to rise at its young prince's call. I
While there is hope, I do not distrust the gods'; }
But wait. at least, till Cæsar's near approach
Force' us to yield. i 'T will 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
In its full length', / and spin it to the last, —
So shall we gain still one day's liberty:
And let me perish, i but in Cato's judgment,
A day', , an hour',, of virtuous liberty, 1
Is worth a whole eternity in bondage. I
Marc. Fathers, this moinent, as I watch'd the gate,
Lodg’d on my post, i a herald is arrivid
From Cæsar's camp'; and with him,comes old De'cius,
The Roman knight' - The carries in his looks
Impa'tience, I and demands to speak with Ca'to. I
Cuto. By your permission, fathers — bid him enter.!
(Exit Marcus. Decius was once my friend'; but other prospects Have loos'd those ties, I and bound him fast to Cæsar. His message may determine our resolves. I
[Enter Decius.] Dec. Cæsar sends health to Cato. I Cato.
Could he send it To Cato's slaughter'd friends, I it would be welcome. I Are not your orders to address the sen'ate? |
Dec. My business is with Ca'to. | Cæsar sees The straits to which you 're driven; and, as he knows Cato's high worth, I is anxious for your life. I
Cato. My life is grafted on the fate of Rome'. I Would he save Cato, ' bid him spare his country. I Tell your dictator this' – 'and tell him too, I Cato Disdains' a life which he has power to offer. |
Dec. Rome, and her senators submit to Cæsar;! Her generals, and her consuls are no more,