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Cato. 'Tis just to give applause, where 'tis deserved: Thy virtue, prince, has stood the test of fortune, Like purest gold, that, tortured in the furnace, Comes out more bright, and brings forth all its weight.
Jub. What shall I answer thee?
Cato. Ha! what has he done?
Por. Scarce had I left my father, but I met him
Por. Nor did he fall, before Hiš sword had pierced thro' the false heart of Syphax. Yonder he lies. I saw the hoary traitor Grin in the pangs of death, and bite the ground.
Çato. Thanks to the gods, my boy has done his duty. - Portius, when I am dead, be sure you place His urn near mine.
Por. Long may they keep asunder!
Luc. Oh, Cato, arm thy soul with all its patience; See where the corpse of thy dead son approaches! The citizens and senators, alarm’d, Have gather'd round it, and attend it weeping. CATO meeting the Corpse.-SENATORS attending. Cato. Welcome, my son! Here lay him down,
Full in my sight, that I may view at leisure
-Why sits this sadness on your brows, my friends?
Jub. Was ever man like this!
Cato. Alas, my friends,
hearts. 'Tis Rome requires our tears,
Jub. Behold that upright man! Rome fills his eyes With tears, that flow'd not o'er his own dear son.
[Aside. Cato. Whate'er the Roman virtue has subdued, The sun's whole course, the day and year, are Cæsar's: For him the self-devoted Decii died, The Fabii fell, and the great Scipios conquer'd : Ev'n Pompey fought for Cæsar. Oh, my friends, How is the toil of fate, the work of ages, The Roman empire, fall’n! Oh, cursed ambition ! Fall’n into Cæsar's hands ! Our great forefathers Had left him nought to conquer but his country.
Jub. While Cato lives, Cæsar will blush to see Mankind enslaved, and be ashamed of empire.
Cato. Cæsar ashamed! Has he not seen Pharsalia? Luc. 'Tis time thou save thyself and us.
Cato. Lose not a thoughton me; I'm out of danger: Heaven will not leave me in the victor's hande Cæsar shall never say, he conquer'd Cato.
But oh, my
friends! your safety fills my heart With anxious thoughts; a thousand secret terrors Rise in my soul. How shall I save my friends ? 'Tis now, O Cæsar, I begin to fear thee!
Luc. Cæsar has mercy, if we ask it of him.
Cato. Then ask it, I conjure you; let him know,
Jub. If I forsake thee
Cato. Thy virtues, prince, if I foresee aright,
Por. I hope my father does not recommend A life to Portius that he scorns himself.
Cato. Farewell, my friends! If there be any Who dare not trust the victor's clemency, Know there are ships prepared, by my command, That shall convey you to the wish'd-for port. Is there aught else, my friends, I can do for you?
The conqueror draws near. Once more, farewell!
[Pointing to his dead Sone
ACT THE FIFTH.
Cato soluts, sitting in a thoughtful Posture ; in his
Hand, Plato's Book on the Immortality of the Soul
Cato. It must be so-Plato, thou reason'st well Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire, This longing after immortality? Or whence this secret dread, and inward horror, O: falling into nought? Why shrinks the soul Back on herself, and startles at destruction? 'Tis the divinity that stirs within us;
Tis Heav'n itself that points out an hereafter,
And intimates eternity to man.
[Laying his Hand on his Sword.
my awaken'd soul may take her flight, Renew'd in all her strength, and fresh with life, An offering fit for Heav'n. Let guilt or fear Disturb man's rest, Cato knows neither of them, Indiff'rent in his choice to sleep or die.
But, hah! who's this? my son! Why this intrusion?