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SCENE I.-A room in CATILINE'S House.
The Ghost of SYLLA rises.
Dost thou not feel me, Rome? not yet! is night
So heavy on thee, and my weight so light?
Can Sylla's ghost arise within thy walls,
Less threatening than an earthquake, the quick falls
Of thee and thine? Shake not the frighted heads
Of thy steep towers, or shrink to their first beds?
Ör, as their ruin the large Tyber fills,
Make that swell up, and drown thy seven proud hills?
What sleep is this doth seize thee so like death,
And is not it? wake, feel her in my breath:
Behold, I come, sent from the Stygian sound,
As a dire vapour that had cleft the ground.
To ingender with the night, and blast the day;
Or like a pestilence that should display
Infection through the world: which thus I do.-
[The curtain draws, and CATILINE is discovered in his
S Pluto be at thy counsels, and into
Thy darker bosom enter Sylla's spirit!
All that was mine, and bad, thy breast inherit.
Alas, how weak is that for Catiline!
Did I but say—vain voice!—all that was mine?—
All that the Gracchi, Cinna, Marius would,
What now, had I a body again, I could,
Coming from hell, what fiends would wish should be,
And Hannibal could not have wish'd to see,
Think thou, and practise. Let the long-hid seeds
Of treason in thee, now shoot forth in deeds
Ranker than horror; and thy former facts
Not fall in mention, but to urge new acts,
Conscience of them provoke thee on to more:
Be still thy incests, murders, rapes, before
Thy sense; thy forcing first a vestal nun ;
Thy parricide, late, on thine own only son,
After his mother, to make empty way
For thy last wicked nuptials; worse than they,
That blaze that act of thy incestuous life,
Which got thee at once a daughter and a wife.
I leave the slaughters that thou didst for me,
Of senators, for which, I hid for thee
Thy murder of thy brother, being so bribed,
And writ him in the list of my proscribed
After thy fact, to save thy little shame;
Thy incest with thy sister, I not name:
These are too light; fate will have thee pursue
Deeds, after which no mischief can be new;
The ruin of thy country: Thou wert built
For such a work, and born for no less guilt.
What though defeated once thou'st been, and known,
Tempt it again: That is thy act, or none.
What all the several ills that visit earth,
Brought forth by night with a sinister birth,
Plagues, famine, fire, could not reach unto,
The sword, nor surfeits; let thy fury do:
Make all past, present, future ill thine own;
And conquer all example in thy one.
Nor let thy thought find any vacant time
To hate an old, but still a fresher crime
Drown the remembrance; let not mischief cease,
But while it is in punishing, increase,
Conscience and care die in thee; and be free
Not heaven itself from thy impiety:
Let night grow blacker with thy plots, and day,
At shewing but thy head forth, start away
From this half-sphere; and leave Rome's blinded walls
To embrace lusts, hatreds, slaughters, funerals,
And not recover sight till their own flames
Do light them to their ruins! All the names
Of thy confederates too be no less great
In hell than here: that when we would repeat
Our strengths in muster, we may name you all,
And furies upon you for furies call!
Whilst what you do may strike them into fears,
Or make them grieve, and wish your mischief theirs.
CATILINE rises and comes forward.
Cat. It is decreed: nor shall thy fate, O Rome,
Resist my vow. Though hills were set on hills,
And seas met seas to guard thee, I would through;
Ay, plough up rocks, steep as the Alps, in dust,
And lave the Tyrrhene waters into clouds,
But I would reach thy head, thy head, proud city!
The ills that I have done cannot be safe
But by attempting greater; and I feel
A spirit within me chides my sluggish hands,
And says, they have been innocent too long.
Was I a man bred great as Rome herself,
One form'd for all her honours, all her glories,
Equal to all her titles; that could stand
Close up with Atlas, and sustain her name
As strong as he doth heaven! and was I,
Of all her brood, mark'd out for the repulse
By her no-voice, when I stood candidate
To be commander in the Pontic war!
I will hereafter call her step-dame ever.
If she can lose her nature, I can lose
My piety, and in her stony entrails
Dig me a seat; where I will live again,
The labour of her womb, and be a burden
Weightier than all the prodigies and monsters
That she hath teem'd with, since she first knew Mars-
Enter AURELIA ORESTILLA.
Aur. 'Tis I.
And break like day, my beauty, to this circle :
Upbraid thy Phoebus, that he is so long
In mounting to that point, which should give thee
Thy proper splendour. Wherefore frowns my sweet?
Have I too long been absent from these lips,
This cheek, these eyes? [Kisses them.] What is my
trespass, speak ?
Aur. It seems you know, that can accuse your self. Cat. I will redeem it.
Aur. Still you say so.
Cat. When Orestilla, by her bearing well
These my retirements, and stol'n times for thought,
Shall give their effects leave to call her queen
Of all the world, in place of humbled Rome.
Aur. You court me now.