Изображения страниц

Who check'd his conquests, and denied his triumphs. | Why will not Ca'to be this Cæsar's friend? |

Cato. Those very reasons thou hast urg'd`, forbid it. |
Dec. Cato, I have orders to expostulate, |

And reason with you, as from friend to friend; |
Think on the storm that gathers o'er your head,
And threatens ev'ry hour to burst upon it; |
Still may you stand high in your country's hon'ors,- |
Do but comply, and make your peace with Cæsar, |
Rome will rejoice', and cast its eyes on Cato, |
As on the second of mankind. |

No more

I must not think of life on such conditions. |


Dec. Cæsar is well acquainted with your virtues, ¦ And therefore sets this value on your life. |

Let him but know the price' of Cato's friendship, |
And name your terms.


Bid him disband his legions, |

Restore the commonwealth to liberty, |

Submit his actions to the public censure, |
And stand the judgment of a Roman senate. !
Let him do this', and Cato is his friend. |

Dec. Cato, the world talks loudly of your wisdom-| Cato. Nay, more though Cato's voice was ne'er employ'd

To clear the guilty, and to varnish crimes, |
Myself will mount the rostrum in his fa'vor, |
And strive to gain his pardon from the people. |
Dec. A style like this becomes a conqueror. |
Cato. Decius, a style like this, becomes a Ro'man. |
Dec. What is a Roman, that is Cæsar's foe?
Cato. Greater than Cæsar : he's a friend to virtue. |
Dec. Consider, Cato, you 're in U`tica, |

And at the head of your own little senate; |

You don't now thunder in the Capitol, |

With all the mouths of Rome to second you. |

Cato. Let him consider that, who drives us hither. 'Tis Cæsar's sword has made Rome's senate little, |

[ocr errors]

And thinn'd its ranks. | Alas! thy dazzled eye
Beholds this man in a false glaring light, |

Which conquest, and success' have thrown upon him:
Didst thou but view him right, thou 'dst see him black
With murder, trea'son, sacrilege, and crimes',
That strike my soul with horror but to name them.,
I know thou look'st on me, as on a wretch |
Beset with ills, and cover'd with misfortunes; |
But millions of worlds' |

Should never buy me to be like that Cæsar. |

Dee. Does Cato send this answer back to Cæsar, | For all his generous cares, and proffer'd friendship? | Cato. His cares for me, are insolent, and vain'. | Presumptuous man! the gods' take care of Cato. I Would Cæsar show the greatness of his soul, | Let him employ his care for these my friends'; | And make good use of his ill-gotten power, | By shelt'ring men much better than himself. |

Dec. Your high unconquer'd heart makes you forget You are a man. You rush on your destruction. | When I relate hereafter |

But I have done.
The tale of this unhappy embassy,

All Rome, will be in tears. I


Semp. Cato, we thank' thee., The mighty genius of immortal Rome', Speaks in thy voice: thy soul breathes lib'erty. | Caesar will shrink to hear the words thou utter'st, I And shudder in the midst of all his conquests. |

Luc. The senate owes its gratitude to Cato | Who, with so great a soul, consults its safety, | And guards our lives, while he neglects his own. | Semp. Sempronius gives no thanks on this account. Lucius seems fond of life'; but what is life? | 'Tis not to stalk about, | and draw fresh air From time to time, or gaze upon the sun :| 'Tis to be free. When liberty is gone, | Life grows insipid, and has lost its relish.! O could my dying hand | but lodge a sword

In Cæsar's bosom, and revenge my country, |
I could enjoy the pangs of death, |

And smile in agony!


Others, perhaps, |

May serve their country with as warm a zeal, |
Though 't is not kindled into so much rage. |
Semp. This sober conduct is a mighty virtue
In luke-warm patriots! |

Cato. Come - no more', Sempronius, |

All here are friends to Rome, and to each other — Let us not weaken still the weaker side |

By our divisions. |

Semp. Cato, my resentments

[ocr errors]

Are sacrificed to Rome I stand reprov'd. |
Cato. Fathers, 't is time you come to a resolve. |
Luc. Cato, we all go into your' opinion- |
Cæsar's behavior has convinc'd the senate |
We ought to hold it out till terms arrive. |

Semp. We ought to hold it out till death- | but, Cato,] My private voice is drown'd amidst the senate's. |

Cato. Then let us rise, my friends', and strive to fill This little interval, this pause of life,

While yet our liberty, and fates are doubtful, |
With resolution, friendship, | Roman bra'very, |
And all the virtues we can crowd into it, |
That heaven may say it ought to be prolong'd. |
Fathers, farewell. The young Numidian prince
Comes forward, and expects to know our counsels. ¡



To him who, in the love of Nature, holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language: for his gayer hours, |
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile,

Thanatopsis (Greek), from thanatos, death, and opsis, sight

a view of death.

And eloquence of beauty; and she glides
Into his darker musings with a mild
And gentle sym'pathy that steals away
Their sharpness, ere he is aware. |

When thoughts
Of the last bitter hour, come like a blight
Over thy spirit; and sad images"

Of the stern, agony, and shroud', and pall', | And breathless dark ness, and the narrow house', | Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart, | Go forth under the open sky', and list

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

Yet a few days, and thee
The all-beholding sun | shall see no more' |
In all his course; | nor yet in the cold ground', |
Where thy pale form | was laid with many tears.,
Nor in the embrace of o'cean, shall exist

Thy image. Earth that nourish'd thee, shall claim
Thy growth to be resolv'd to earth again; |
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go |
To mix for ever with the elements,

To be a brother to the insensible rock, |

And to the sluggish clod | which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon.

The oak Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.¦

Yet not to thy eternal resting-place, |
Shalt thou retire alone. nor couldst thou wish' |
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down |

With patriarchs of the infant world,

[ocr errors]

with kings', :

The powerful of the earth the wise, the good', \ Fair forms, and hoary seers' of ages past, |

All in one mighty sepulchre. |

[ocr errors]

Sad images; not sad-dim'a-ges. Stern agony; not stern-nag go-r..

The hills,

Rock-ribb'd, and ancient as the sun'; the vales',
Stretching in pensive quietness between ; |
The venerable woods; rivers that move
In majesty, and the "complaining brooks |
That make the meadows green; and, pour'd round all
Old ocean's grey, and melancholy waste',

Are but the solemn decorations all',

Of the great tomb of man. |

The golden sun、, |

The planets, all the infinite host of heav'n, |
Are shining on the sad, abodes of death, |
Through the still lapse of ages. | All that tread
The globe, are but a hand ful" to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom. | Take the wings
Of morning, and the Barcan desert pierce,,]
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods' |
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound, |
Save his own dash.ings yet the dead are there ; '
And millions in those solitudes, since first

The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep. - the dead reign there, alone. I

So shalt thou' rest and what if thou shalt fall, |
Unnoticed by the living; and no friend
Take note of thy departure? | All that breathe
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone; the solemn brood of care
Plod on, and each one, as before, will chase
His favorite phantom yet all these shall leave
Their mirth, and their employments, and shall come.
And make their bed with thee. ¡

As the long train
Of ages glides away, the sons of men', |
The youth in life's green spring, and he who goes
In the full strength of years', ma'tron and maid, |

• Sad abodes; not sad'der-bodes. Bu. a handful; not butter handful

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »