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Lec. The day goes back,
Or else my senses !
Cur. As at Atreus' feast!
Ful. Garkness grows more and more!
Len. The vestal flame,
[A groan of many people is heard under ground. Gab. What groan was that?
Strike fire out of ourselves, and force a day.
Aut. Again it sounds.
Bes. As all the city gave it!
Cet. We fear what ourselves feign.
Var. What light is this?
Cur. Look forth.
Len. It still grows greater!
Lec. From whence comes it?
Lon. A bloody arm it is that holds a pine Lighted above the capitol! and now
It waves unto us!
Cat. Brave and ominous!
Our enterprise is seal'd.
Cet. In spite of darkness,
That would discountenance it. Look no more!
We lose time and ourselves. To what we came for.
Speak Lucius, we attend you.
Cat. Noblest Romans,
If you were less, or that your faith and virtue
Did not hold good that title, with your blood,
I should not now unprofitably spend
Myself in words, or catch at empty hopes,
By airy ways, for solid certainties;
But since in many, and the greatest dangers,
I still have known you no less true than valiant,
And that I taste in you the same affections,
To will or nil, to think things good or bad,
Alike with me, which argues your firm friendship:
I dare the boldlier with you set on foot,
Or lead unto this great and goodliest action.
What I have thought of it afore, you all
Have heard apart: I then express'd my zeal
Unto the glory; now, the need inflames me.
When I forethink the hard conditions
Our states must undergo, except in time
We do redeem our selves to liberty,
And break the iron yoke forged for our necks;
For what less can we call it, when we see,
The commonwealth engross'd so by a few,
The giants of the state, that do by turns
Enjoy her, and defile her! all the earth,
Her kings and tetrachs, are their tributaries;
People and nations pay them hourly stipends;
The riches of the world flow to their coffers,
And not to Rome's. While, (but those few) the rest,
However great we are, honest, and valiant,
Are herded with the vulgar, and so kept,
As we were only bred to consume corn,
Or wear out wool; to drink the city's water:
Ungraced, without authority or mark,
Trembling beneath their rods; to whom, if all
Were well in Rome, we should come forth bright
All places, honours, offices are theirs,
Or where they will confer them: they leave us
The dangers, the repulses, judgments, wants;
Which how long will you bear, most valiant spirits?
Were we not better to fall once with virtue,
Than draw a wretched and dishonour'd breath,
To lose with shame, when these men's pride will laugh!
I call the faith of Gods and men to question,
The power is in our hands, our bodies able,
Our minds as strong; o' the contrary, in them
All things grown aged, with their wealth and years:
There wants but only to begin the business,
The issue is certain.
Cet. Lon. On! let us go on!
Cur. Bes. Go on, brave Sergius!
Cat. It doth strike my soul,
And who can scape the stroke, that hath a soul,
Or but the smallest air of man within him?
To see them swell with treasure, which they pour
Out in their riots, eating, drinking, building,
Ay, in the sea! planing of hills with valleys,
And raising valleys above hills! whilst we
Have not to give our bodies necessaries.
They have their change of houses, manors, lordships;
We scarce a fire, or a poor household Lar!
They buy rare Attic statues, Tyrian hangings,
Ephesian pictures, and Corinthian plate,
Attalic garments, and now new-found gems,
Since Pompey went for Asia, which they purchase
At price of provinces the river Phasis
Cannot afford them fowl, nor Lucrine lake
Oysters enow: Circei too is search'd,
To please the witty gluttony of a meal!
Their ancient habitations they neglect,
And set up new; then, if the echo like not
In such a room, they pluck down those, build newer,
Alter them too; and by all frantic ways,
Vex their wild wealth, as they molest the people,
From whom they force it! Yet they cannot tame,
Or overcome their riches! not by making
Baths, orchards, fish-pools, letting in of seas
Here, and then there forcing them out again
With mountainous heaps, for which the earth hath lost
Most of her ribs, as entrails; being now
Wounded no less for marble, than for gold?
We, all this while, like calm benumb'd spectators,
Sit till our seats do crack, and do not hear
The thund'ring ruins; whilst at home our wants,
Abroad, our debts do urge us; our states daily
Bending to bad, our hopes to worse: and what
Is left but to be crush'd? Wake, wake, brave friends,
And meet the liberty you oft have wish'd for.
Behold, renown, riches, and glory court you!
Fortune holds these out to you, as rewards.
Methinks, though I were dumb, the affair itself,
The opportunity, your needs, and dangers,
With the brave spoil the war brings, should invite you.
Use me, your general, or soldier: neither
My mind nor body shall be wanting to you:
And, being consul, I not doubt to effect
All that you wish, if trust not flatter me,
And you'd not rather still be slaves, than free.
Cet. Free, Free!
Lon. 'Tis Freedom.
Cur. Freedom we all stand for.
Cat. Why, these are noble voices! Nothing wants,
But that we take a solemn sacrament,
To strengthen our design.
Cet. And most to act it:
Deferring hurts, where powers are so prepared.
Aut. Yet, ere we enter into open act,
With favour, 'twere no loss, if't might be inquired,
What the condition of these arms would be.
Var. Ay, and the means to carry us through.
Think you that I would bid you grasp the wind
Or call you to th' embracing of a cloud!
Put your known valours on so dear a business,
And have no other second than the danger,
Nor other garland than the loss? Become
Your own assurances. And for the means,
Consider, first, the stark security
The commonwealth is in now; the whole senate
Sleepy, and dreaming no such violent blow;
Their forces all abroad; of which the greatest,
That might annoy us most, is farthest off,
In Asia, under Pompey,; those near hand,
Commanded by our friends; one army in Spain,
By Cneus Piso; the other in Mauritania,
By Nucerinus; both which I have firm
And fast unto our plot. My self, then, standing
Now to be consul, with my hoped colleague
Caius Antonius, one no less engaged
By his wants, than we; and whom I've power to melt,
And cast in any mould: beside, some others,
That will not yet be named, both sure, and great ones,
Who, when the time comes, shall declare themselves
Strong for our party; so that no resistance
In nature can be thought. For our reward then,
First, all our debts are paid; dangers of law,
Actions, decrees, judgments against us, quitted;
The rich men, as in Sylla's times, proscribed,
And publication made of all their goods:
That house is yours; that land is his; those waters,
Orchards, and walks, a third's; he has that honour,
And he that office: such a province falls
To Vargunteius; this to Autronius; that
To bold Cethegus; Rome to Lentulus.
You share the world, her magistracies, priesthoods,