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Did glut' himself again: a meal was bought
No love' was left; |
All earth was but one thought; and that was death, Immediate, and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all en trails. | Men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh; }
The birds, and beasts, and famish'd men at bay', ]
The crowd was famish'd by degrees,; but two
And they were enemies. They met beside
Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things |
For an unholy usage: they rak'd up, |
And, shivering, scrap'd with their cold skeleton hands, | The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath |
Blew for a little life, and made a flame |
Which was a mockery. Then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter', and beheld
Each other's aspects- saw, and shriek'd, and died.:
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow |
The world was void; 1
The populous, and the powerful was a lump, |
Some, being anxious to correct what is already right, have
substituted were for was.
Seasonless, herb.less, tree-less, man'less, life, less-j
And their masts fell down piece-meal; as they dropp'd,
Darkness had no need Of aid from them. she,, was the universe. |
Lucius, Sempronius, and Senators.
Semp. Rome still survives in this assembl'd sen.ate! | Let us remember we are Ca'to's friends,
And act like men who claim that glorious title. |
The occasion of our meeting.
Hark! he comes ! |
[Flourish of Trumpets.
May all the guardian gods of Rome direct him! |
Cato. Fathers, we once again are met in council-¦
And Scipio's death? | Numidia's burning sands
Fathers, pronounce your thoughts are they still fixt To hold it out, and fight it to the last ? |
Or are your hearts subdu'd at length, and wrought By time, and ill success, to a submission? | Sempronius, speak. |
My voice is still for war. I
Can a Roman senate long debate |
slav'ry, or death'? ¦ No let us rise at once, gird on our swords', | And, at the head of our remaining troops, |
Attack the foe, break through the thick array |
Of his throng'd legions, and charge home' upon him:] Perhaps some arm, more lucky than the rest,
May reach his heart, and free the world from bondage.}
Or share their fate.! The corpse of half her sen'ate, I
Or wear them out in servitude, and chains.. |
Rouse up, for shame! our brothers of Pharsalia !
Great Pompey's shade
and cry aloud — to battle! | complains that we are slow; | And Scipio's ghost walks unreveng'd' amongst us! | Cato. Let not a torrent of impetuous zeal, Transport thee thus beyond the bounds of reason: | True fortitude is seen in great exploits |
That justice warrants, and that wisdom guides, — |
Luc. My thoughts, I must confess, are turn'd on peace.
Already have our quarrels | fill'd the world
Our vain attempts. To urge the foe to battle, |
That drew our swords, now wrests them from our hands,
Unprofitably shed. What men could do, I
Is done already: | heaven, and earth will witness, |
Semp. This smooth discourse, and mild behavior, | oft
Cato. Let us be
something whispers me Cato, beware of Lucius. |
[Aside to Cato.
neither rash nor diffident
Are grown thus desp'rate
round us: |
we have bulwarks'
Within our walls, | are troops, inured to toil
While there is hope, do not distrust the gods; }
Marc. Fathers, this moment, as I watch'd the gate, | Lodg'd on my post, a her'ald is arriv'd
From Cæsar's camp; and with him, comes old De'cius.
¦ bid him enter.
Decius was once my friend; but other prospects Have loos'd those ties, and bound him fast to Cæsar. ] His message may determine our resolves. |
Dec. Cæsar sends health to Ca'to. I
Could he send it
To Cato's slaughter'd friends, it would be welcome. [ Are not your orders to address the senate? |
Dec. My business is with Ca'to. | Cæsar sees The straits to which you 're driven; and, as he knows Cato's high worth, is anxious for your life. I
Cato. My life is grafted on the fate of Rome'. | Would he save Cato, bid him spare his country. | Tell your dictator this - ' and tell him too, | Čato Disdains a life which he has power to offer. |
Dec. Rome, and her senators submit to Cæsar; ¦ Her generals, and her consuls are no mòre, |