« VorigeDoorgaan »
To see them die. Have ye fair daughters ? Look
To see them live, torn from your arms, distained,
Dishonored ; and, if ye dare call for justice,
Be answered by the lash. Yet this is Rome,
That sat on her seven hills, and, from her throne
Of beauty, ruled the world! Yet we are Romans !
Why, in that elder day, to be a Roman
Was greater than a king! And once again,
Hear me, ye walls, that echoed to the tread
Of either Brutus ! - once again, I
swear, The eternal city shall be free; her sons Shall walk with princes.
Speech of Catiline before the Roman Senate.
"BANISHED from Rome!” - What's banished, but set free
From daily contact of the things I loathe ?
• Tried and convicted traitor!”- Who says this?
Who'll prove it, at his peril, on my head ?
“ Banished !” I thank you for't. It breaks chain !
I held some slack allegiance till this hour;
But now.my sword 's my own. Smile on, my lords;
I scorn to count what feelings, withered hopes,
Strong provocations, bitter, burning wrongs,
I have within my heart's hot cell shut up,
To leave you in your lazy dignities.
But here I stand and scoff you : here I fling
Hatred and full defiance in your face.
Your consul 's merciful. For this all thanks.
He dares not touch a hair of Catiline.
• Traitor !" I go — but I return. This - trial !
Here I devote your senate !
I've had wrongs,
To stir a fever in the blood of age,
Or make the infant's sinews strong as steel.
This day 's the birth of sorrows! - This hour's work
Will breed proscriptions. Look to your hearths, my lords,
For there henceforth •shall sit, for household gods,
Shapes hot from Tartarus ! -all shames and crimes ;
Wan Treachery, with his thirsty dagger drawn;
Suspicion, poisoning his brother's cup;
Naked Rebellion, with the torch and axe,
Making his wild sport of your blazing thrones ;
Till Anarchy comes down on you like night,
And Massacre seals Rome's eternal grave.
Cato's Soliloquy on the Immortality of the Soul.
SCENE. — Cato sitting in a thoughtful posture, with Plato's book on
the Immortality of the Soul in his hand; and a drawn sword on the table by him.
It must be so Plato, thou reasonest well!
Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire,
This longing after immortality ?
Or whence this secret dread, and inward horror,
Of falling into nought ? Why shrinks the soul
Back on herself, and startles at destruction ?
'Tis the Divinity that stirs within us;
'Tis Heaven itself that points out an hereafter,
And intimates eternity to man.
Eternity ! — thou pleasing, dreadful thought!
Through what variety of untried being,
Through what new scenes and changes must we pass !
The wide, th' unbounded prospect lies before me;
But shadows, clouds, and darkness rest upon it.
Here will I hold. If there's a power above us,
(And that there is, all nature cries aloud
Through all her works,) he must delight in virtue ;
And that which he delights in must be happy.
But when ? or where? - This world was made for Cæsar,
I'm weary of conjectures — this must end them.
[Laying his hand on his sword.
Thus am I doubly armed: my death * and life,t
My bane and antidote, are both before me.
This in a moment brings me to an end;
But this informs me I shall never die.
The soul, secured in her existence, smiles
At the drawn dagger, and defies its point.
The stars shall fade away, the sun himself
Grow dim with age, and nature sink in years ;
But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds.
Edward. LET me have no intruders; above all,
Keep Warwick from my sight -
Warwick. "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 desired, and more deserved it.
War. Never! I've been a foolish, faithful slave;
All my best years, the morning of my life,
Have been devoted to your service. What
Are now the fruits ? Disgrace and infamy ;
My spotless name, which never yet the breath
Of calumny had tainted, made the mock
For foreign fools to carp at: but 'tis fit,
Who trust in princes should be thus rewarded.
Edw. I thought, my lord, I had full well repaid
Your services with honors, wealth, and power
Unlimited: thy all-directing hand
Guided in secret every latent wheel
Of government, and moved the whole iraci :....:
Warwick was all in all, and powerless Edward
Stood like a cipher in the great account.
War. Who gave that cipher worth, and seated thee
On England's throne? Thy undistinguished name
Had rotted in the dust from whence it sprang,
And mouldered in oblivion, had not Warwick
Dug from its sordid mine the useless ore,
And stamped it with a diadem. Thou knowest,
This wretched country, doomed, perhaps, like Rome,
To fall by its own self-destroying hand,
Tossed for so many years in the rough sea
Of civil discord, but for me had perished.
In that distressful hour, I seized the helm,
Bade the rough waves subside in peace, and steered
Your shattered vessel safe into the harbor.
You may despise, perhaps, that useless aid
Which you no longer want; but know, proud youth,
He who forgets a friend, deserves a foe.
Edw. Know, too, reproach for benefits received
Pays every debt, and cancels obligation.
War. Why, that indeed is frugal honesty,
A thrifty, saving knowledge : when the debt
Grows burdensome, and cannot be discharged,
A sponge will wipe out all, and cost you nothing.
Edw. When you have counted o'er the numerous train
Of mighty gifts your bounty lavished on me,
You may remember next the injuries
Which I have done you: let me know them all,
And I will make you ample satisfaction.
War. Thou canst not; thou hast robbed me of a jewel It is not in thy power to restore. I was the first, shall future annals say, That broke the sacred bond of public trust And mutual confidence; ambassadors, In after times, - mere instruments, perhaps, Of venal statesmen,- shall recall my name To witness that they want not an example, And plead my guilt to sanctify their own. Amidst the herd of mercenary slaves That haunt your court, could none be found but Warwick, To be the shameless herald of a lie ?
Edw. And wouldst thou turn the vile reproach on me?
If I have broke my faith, and stained the name
Of England, thank thy own pernicious counsels
That urged me to it, and extorted from me
A cold consent to what my heart abhorred.
War. I've been abused, insulted, and betrayed :
My injured honor cries aloud for vengeance.
Her wounds will never close !
Edw. These gusts of passion
Will but inflame them. If I have been right
Informed, my lord, besides these dangerous scars
Of bleeding honor, you have other wounds,
As deep, though not so fatal :- such, perhaps,
As none but fair Elizabeth can cure.
Edw. Nay, start not: I have cause