« AnteriorContinuar »
Jud. SYPHAX, I joy to meet thee thus alone.
I have observ'd of late thy looks are fall'n,
O'ercast with gloomy cares and discontent;
Then tell me, Syphax, I conjure thee, tell me,
What are the thoughts that knit thy brow in frowns,
And turn thine eyes thus coldly on thy prince?
Syph. "Tis not my talent to conceal my thoughts,
Or carry smiles and sunshine in my face,
When discontent sits heavy at my heart :
I have not yet so much the Ronian in me.
Jub. Why dost thou cast out such ungen'rous terms
Against the lords and sov'reigns of the world?
Dost thou not see mankind fall down before them,
And own the force of their superior virtue ?
Is there a nation in the wilds of Afric,
Amidst our barren rocks and burning sands,
That does not tremble at the Roman name?
Sypk. Gods! where's the worth that sets this people up
Above your own Numidia's tawny sons ?
Do they with tougher sinews bend the bow?
Or flies the jav'lin swifter to it's inark,
Launch'd from the vigour of a Roman arm?
Who like our active African instructs
The fi'ry steed, and trains him to his hand ?
Or guides in troops th' embati led elephant
Laden with war : These, these are arts, my prince,
In which your Zaina does not stoop to Rome.
Jub. These are all virtues of a meaner rank,
Perfections that are plac'd in bones and nerves.
A Roman soul is bent ou higher views :
To civilize the rude unpolish'd world;
To lay it under the restraint of laws;
To make man mild, and sociable to man;
To cultivate the wild licentious savage
With wisdom, discipline, and lib'ral arts,
Th’ embellishments of life : virtues like these
Make human nature shine, reform the soul,
And break our fierce barbarians into men.
Syph. Patience, just Heav'ns ! - Excuse an old man's
What are these wond'rous civilizing arts,
Thris Roman polish, and this smooth behaviour,
That render inan thus tractable and tame?
Are they not only to disguise our passions,
To set our looks at variance with our thoughts,
To check the starts and sallies of the soul,
And break off all its commerce with the tongue :
In short, to change us into other creatures,
Than what our nature and the gods design'd us?
Jub. To strike thee dumb :,turn up thy eyes to Cato!
There may’st thou see to what a godlike height
The Roman virtues lift up mortal mal.
While good, and just, and anxious for his friends,
He's still severely bent against himself ;
Renouncing sleep, and rest, and food, and ease,
He strives with thirst and hunger, toil and heat:
And when his fortune sets before him all
pomps and pleasures that his soul can wish, His rigid virtue will accept of none.
Syph. Believe me, prince, there's not an African,
That traverses our vast Numidian deserts
In quest of prey, and lives upon his bow,
But better practises these boasted virtues.
Coarse are his meals, the fortune of the chase ;
Amidst the running stream he slakes his thirst,
Toils all the day, and at the approach of night
On the first friendly bank he throws bim down,
Or rests his head upon a rock till morn ;
Then rises fresh, pursues his wonted game,
And if the follwing day he chance to find
A new repast, or an untasted spring,
Blesses his stars, and thinks it Juxury.
Jub. Thy prejudices, Syphax, wont discern
What virtues grow from ignorance and choice,
Or how the hero differs from the brute.
But grant that others could with equal glory
Look down on pleasures, and the baits of sense ;
Where shall we find the man that bears affliction,
Great and majestic in his griefs, like Cato?
Heav'ns! with what strength, what steadiness of mind,
He triumphs in the midst of all bis suff'rings !
How does he rise against a load of woes,
And thank the gods that threw the weight upon him!
Syph. Tis pride, rank pride, and haughtiness of soul :
I think the Romans call it stoicism.
Had not your royal father thought so highly
Of Ronan virtue, and of Cato's cause,
He had not fall'n by a slave's hand, inglorious ;
Nor would his slaughter'd army now have lain
On Afric's sands, disfigur'd with their wounds,
the wolves and vultures of Numidia.
Jub. Why dost thou call my sorrows up afresli?
My father's name brings tears into mine eyes.
Sypi. O, that you'd profit by your father's ills !
Jub. What would'st thou have me do?
Syph. Abandon Cato.
Jub. Syphax, I should be more than twice an orpban By such a loss.
Syph. Ay, there's the tie that binds you !
You long to call him father. Marcia's charms
Work in your heart unseen, and plead for Cato..
No wonder you are deaf in all I say.
Jub. Syphax, your zeal becomes importunate;
I've hitherto permitted it to rave,
And talk at large ; but iearn to keep it in,
Lest it should take more freedom than I'll give it.
Syph. Sir, your great father never us'd me thus :
Aias ! he's dead! but can you e’er forget
Tbe tender sorrows, and the pangs of nature,
The fond embraces, and repeated blessings,
yoti drew from him in your last farewell ?
Still must I cherish the dear sad reinembrance,
At once to torture and to please my soul.
The good old king at parting wrung my hand,
(His eyes brimful of tears), theo sighing, cried,
Prithee be careful of my son! His grief
Swelld up so high, he could not utter more.
Jub. Alas! the story melts away my soul ! That best of fathers ! how shall I discharge The gratitude and duty which I owe him?
Syph. By laying up his counsels in your heart.
Jub. His counsels bade me yield to thy directions :
Then, Syphax, chide me in severest terms,
Vent all thy passion, and I'll stand it's shock,
Calm and unruffled as a summer sea,
When not a breath of wind flies o'er it's surface.
Syph. Alas! my prince, I'd guide you to your safety!
Jub. I do believe thou wouldst; but tell me how.
Syph. Fly from the fate that follows Cæsar's foes.
Jub. My father scorn'd to do it.
Syph. And therefore died.
Jub. Better to die ten thousand thousand deaths,
Than wound iny
Syph. Rather say your love.
Jub. Syphax, I've promis’d to preserve my temper :
Why wilt thou urge me to confess a fiame
I long have stifled, and would fain conceal ?
Syph. Believe me, prince, though hard to conquer love,
'Tis easy to divert and break it's force:
Absence might cure it, or a second mistress
Light up another flame, and put out this.
The glowing dames of Zama's royal court
Have faccs flush'd with more exalted charms;
The sun, that rolls his chariot o'er their heads,
Works up more fire and colour in their cheeks ;
Were you with these, my prince, you'd soon forget
The pale, unripen'd beauties of the north.
Jub. "ris not a set of features, or coinplexion,
The tincture of a skin that I admire.
Beauty soon grows familiar to the lover,
Fades in his eye, and palls upon the sense.
The virtuous Marcia tow'rs above her sex :
True, she is fair (0, how divinely fair!)
But still the lovely maid improves her charms
With inward greatness, unaffected wisdom,
And sanctity of manners. Cato's soul
Shines out in ev'ry thing she acts or speaks,
While winning mildness and attractive smiles
Dwell in her looks, and with becoming grace
Soften the rigour of her father's virtues.
Edw. Let me have no intruders ; above all,
Keep Warwick from my sight.-
War. Behold him here ;
No welcome guest, it seems, unless. I ask
My lord of Suffolk's leave there was a time,
When Warwick wanted not his aid to gain
Edw. There was a time, perhaps,
When Warwick more desir'd, and more-deserv'd it.
War. Never ; I've been a foolish, faithful slave,
hest years; the morning of my life
Hath been devoted to your service: what
Are now the fruits? Disgrace and infanıy!
My spotless name, which never yet the breath
of calumny had tainted, made the mock
For foreign fools to carp at: but 'tis fit-
Whc trust in princes should be thus rewarded.
Edw. I thought, my lord, I liad full well repaid
Your services with honours, wealth, and pow'r
Unlimited: thy all-directing hand
Guided in secret ev'ry latent wheel
Of government, and inov'd the whole machine:
Warwick was all in all, and pow'rless Edward
Stood like a cipher in the great account.
War. Who gave that cipher worth, and seated thee
On England's throne? Thy undistinguish'd name
Had rotted in the dust from wlience it sprang,
And moulder'd in oblivion, had not Warwick
Dug from it's sordid mine the useless ore,
And stamp'd it with a diadem. Thou know'st,
This wretched country, doon'd perhaps like Rome,
To fall by it's own self-destroying hand,
Toss'd for so many years in the rough sea
Of civil discord, but for me had perish'd.
In that distressful hour I seiz'd the helm,