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Cat. As I would always, love, By this ambrosiac kiss, and this of nectar, Wouldst thou but hear as gladly as I speak. Could my Aurelia think I meant her less, When, wooing her, I first removed a wife, And then a son, to make my bed and house Spacious and fit to embrace her? these were deeds Not to have begun with, but to end with more And greater: He that, building, stays at one Floor, or the second, hath erected none. 'Twas how to raise thee I was meditating, To make some act of mine answer thy love; That love, that, when my state was now quite sunk, Came with thy wealth and weigh'd it up again, And made my emergent fortune once more look Above the main; which now shall hit the stars, And stick my Orestilla there amongst them, If any tempest can but make the billow, And any billow can but lift her greatness. But I must pray my love, she will put on Like habits with myself; I have to do With many men, and many natures: Some That must be blown and sooth'd; as Lentulus, Whom I have heav'd with magnifying his blood, And a vain dream out of the Sybil's books, That a third man of that great family Whereof he is descended, the Cornelii, Should be a king in Rome: which I have hired The flattering augurs to interpret Him, Cinna and Sylla dead. Then bold Cethegus, Whose valour I have turn'd into his poison, And praised so into daring, as he would Go on upon the gods, kiss lightning, wrest The engine from the Cyclops, and give fire At face of a full cloud, and stand his ire,

When I would bid him move. Others there are,
Whom envy to the state draws, and puts on
For contumelies received (and such are sure ones),
As Curius, and the forenamed Lentulus,
Both which have been degraded in the senate,
And must have their disgraces still new rubb'd,
To make them smart, and labour of revenge.
Others whom mere ambition fires, and dole
Of provinces abroad, which they have feign'd
To their crude hopes, and I as amply promised:
These, Lecca, Vargunteius, Bestia, Autronius.
Some whom their wants oppress, as the idle captains
Of Sylla's troops; and divers Roman knights,
The profuse wasters of their patrimonies,

So threaten'd with their debts, as they will now
Run any desperate fortune for a change.
These, for a time, we must relieve, Aurelia,
And make our house their safeguard: like for those
That fear the law, or stand within her gripe,
For any act past or to come; such will,
From their own crimes, be factious, as from ours.
Some more there be, slight airlings, will be won
With dogs and horses, or perhaps a whore;
Which must be had: and if they venture lives
For us, Aurelia, we must hazard honours
A little. Get thee store and change of women,
As I have boys; and give them time and place,
And all connivance: be thy self, too, courtly;
And entertain and feast, sit up, and revel;
Call all the great, the fair, and spirited dames
Of Rome about thee; and begin a fashion

Of freedom and community: some will thank thee,
Though the sour senate frown, whose heads must ache
In fear and feeling too. We must not spare
Or cost or modesty: It can but shew

Like one of Juno's or of Jove's disguise,
In either thee or me: and will as soon,
When things succeed, be thrown by, or let fall,
As is a veil put off, a visor changed,

Or the scene shifted in our theatres-
Who's that? It is the voice of Lentulus.

Aur. Or of Cethegus.

Cat. In, my fair Aurelia,

[Noise within.

And think upon these arts: they must not see
How far you're trusted with these privacies,
Though on their shoulders, necks and heads you rise.


Enter LENTULUS, in discourse with CETHEGUS.

Lent. It is, methinks, a morning full of fate!
It riseth slowly, as her sullen car

Had all the weights of sleep and death hung at it!
She is not rosy-finger'd, but swoll'n black;

Her face is like a water turn'd to blood,
And her sick head is bound about with clouds,
As if she threaten'd night ere noon of day!
It does not look as it would have a hail
Or health wish'd in it, as on other morns.

Cet. Why, all the fitter, Lentulus; our coming
Is not for salutation, we have business.

Cat. Said nobly, brave Cethegus! Where's Autronius! Cet. Is he not come ?

Cat. Not here.

Cet. Nor Vargunteius?

Cat. Neither.

Cet. A fire in their beds and bosoms,

That so will serve their sloth rather than virtue !

They are no Romans,—and at such high need
As now!

Len. Both they, Longinus, Lecca, Curius, Fulvius, Gabinus, gave me word, last night, By Lucius Bestia, they would all be here, And early.

Cet. Yes; as you, had I not call'd you.
Come, we all sleep, and are mere dormice; flies
A little less than dead: more dulness hangs
On us than on the morn. We are spirit-bound
In ribs of ice, our whole bloods are one stone,
And honour cannot thaw us, nor our wants,
Though they burn hot as fevers to our states.

Cat. I muse they would be tardy at an hour
Of so great purpose.

Cet. If the gods had call'd

Them to a purpose, they would just have come
With the same tortoise speed; that are thus slow
To such an action, which the gods will envy,
As asking no less means than all their powers,
Conjoin'd, to effect! I would have seen Rome burn
By this time, and her ashes in an urn ;
The kingdom of the senate rent asunder,
And the degenerate talking gown run frighted
Out of the air of Italy.

Cat. Spirit of men!

Thou heart of our great enterprise ! how much
I love these voices in thee !

Cet. O, the days

Of Sylla's sway, when the free sword took leave
To act all that it would!

Cat. And was familiar

With entrails, as our augurs.
Cet. Sons kill'd fathers,

Brothers their brothers.

Cat. And had price and praise.

All hate had license given it, all rage reins.

Cet. Slaughter bestrid the streets, and stretch'd himself

To seem more huge; whilst to his stained thighs
The gore he drew flow'd up, and carried down
Whole heaps of limbs and bodies through his arch.
No age was spared, no sex.

Cat. Nay, no degree.

Cet. Not infants in the porch of life were free.
The sick, the old, that could but hope a day
Longer by nature's bounty, not let stay,
Virgins, and widows, matrons, pregnant wives,
All died.

Cat. 'Twas crime enough, that they had lives:
To strike but only those that could do hurt,
Was dull and poor: some fell to make the number,
As some the prey.

Cet. The rugged Charon fainted,

And ask'd a navy, rather than a boat,
To ferry over the sad world that came:

The maws and dens of beasts could not receive
The bodies that those souls were frighted from;
And e'en the graves were fill'd with men yet living,
Whose flight and fear had mix'd them with the dead.

Cat. And this shall be again, and more, and more,
Now Lentulus, the third Cornelius,
Is to stand up in Rome.

Lent. Nay, urge not that Is so uncertain.

Cat. How!

Lent. I mean, not clear'd,

And therefore not to be reflected on.

Cat. The Sybil's leaves uncertain! or the comments Of our grave, deep, divining men not clear.

Lent. All prophecies, you know, suffer the torture.

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