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Wealth and felicity, amongst you, friends;
And Catiline your servant. Would you, Curius,
Revenge the contumely stuck upon you,
In being removed from the senate? now,
Now is your time. Would Publius Lentulus
Strike for the like disgrace? now is his time.
Would stout Longinus walk the streets of Rome,
Facing the Prætor? now has he a time
To spurn and tread the fasces into dirt,
Made of the usurers' and the lictors' brains.
Is there a beauty here in Rome you love?
An enemy you would kill? what head's not your's?
Whose wife, which boy, whose daughter, of what race,
That the husband, or glad parents, shall not bring you,
And boasting of the office? only spare
Yourselves, and you have all the earth beside,
A field to exercise your longings in.
I see you raised, and read your forward minds
High in your faces. Bring the wine and blood
You have prepared there.
Enter Servants, with a bowl.
Cat. I have kill'd a slave,
And of his blood caused to be mix'd with wine:
Fill every man his bowl. There cannot be.
A fitter drink to make this sanction in.
Here I begin the sacrament to all.
O for a clap of thunder now, as loud
As to be heard throughout the universe,
To tell the world the fact, and to applaud it!
Be firm, my hand, not shed a drop; but pour
Fierceness into me with it, and fell thirst
Of more and more, till Rome be left as bloodless
As ever her fears made her, or the sword.
And when I leave to wish this to thee, step-dame,
Or stop to affect it, with my powers fainting,
So may my blood be drawn, and so drunk up,
As is this slave's.
Lon. And so be mine.
Len. And mine.
Cet. Swell me my bowl yet fuller.
Here, I do drink this, as I would do Cato's,
Or the new fellow Cicero's, with that vow
Which Catiline hath given.
Cur. So do I.
Lec. And I.
Ful. And I.
Gab. And all of us.
Cat. Why, now's the business safe, and each man
Sirrah, what ail you!
Bes. Somewhat modest.
Cat. Slave, I will strike your soul out with my foot, Let me but find you again with such a face:
Bes. Nay, Lucius.
Cat. Are you coying it.
When I command you to be free, and general
Bes. You'll be observed.
Cat. Arise and shew
But any least aversion in you look
To him that bourds you next; and your throat opensNoble confederates, thus far is perfect.
Only your suffrages I will expect
At the assembly for the choosing consuls,
And all the voices you can make by friends
To my election: then let me work out
Your fortunes and mine own. Meanwhile, all rest
Seal'd up and silent, as when rigid frosts
Have bound up brooks and rivers, forced wild beasts
Unto their caves, and birds into the woods,
Clowns to their houses, and the country sleeps:
That, when the sudden thaw comes, we may break
Upon them like a deluge, bearing down
Half Rome before us, and invade the rest
With cries, and noise, able to wake the urns
Of those are dead, and make their ashes fear.
The horrors that do strike the world, should come
Loud, and unlook'd for; till they strike, be dumb.
Cet. Oraculous Sergius!
Can nothing great, and at the height,
Remain so long, but its own weight
Will ruin it? or is't blind chance,
That still desires new states to advance,
And quit the old? else why must Rome
Be by itself now overcome?
Hath she not foes enow of those
Whom she hath made such, and enclose
Her round about? or are they none,
Except she first become her own:
O wretchedness of greatest states,
To be obnoxious to these fates!
That cannot keep what they do gain;
And what they raise so ill sustain !
Rome now is mistress of the whole
World, sea and land, to either pole;
And even that fortune will destroy
The pow'r that made it: she doth joy
So much in plenty, wealth, and ease,
As now th' excess is her disease.
She builds in gold, and to the stars,
As if she threaten'd heav'n with wars;
And seeks for hell in quarries deep,
Giving the fiends, that there do keep,
A hope of day. Her women wear
The spoils of nations in an ear,
Changed for the treasure of a shell;
And in their loose attires do swell,
More light than sails, when all winds play:
Yet are the men more loose than they
More kemb'd, and bath'd, and rubb'd, and trimm'd,
More sleek, more soft, and slacker limb'd;
As prostitute; so much, that kind
May seek itself there, and not find.
They eat on beds of silk and gold,
At ivory tables, or wood sold
Dearer than it; and leaving plate,
Do drink in stone of higher rate.
They hunt all grounds, and draw all seas,
Fowl every brook and bush, to please
Their wanton taste; and in request
Have new and rare things, not the best.
Hence comes that wild and vast expense,
That hath enforced Rome's virtue thence,
Which simple poverty first made:
And now ambition doth invade
Her state, with eating avarice,
Riot, and every other vice.
Decrees are bought, and laws are sold,
Honours, and offices, for gold;
The people's voices, and the free
Tongues in the senate, bribed be:
Such ruin of her manners Rome
Doth suffer now, as she's become
(Without the gods it soon gainsay)
Both her own spoiler, and own prey.
So, Asia, art thou cru'lly even
With us, for all the blows thee given;
When we, whose virtue conquer'd thee,
Thus, by thy vices, ruin'd be.