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POR TI U S.
Thou see'ft not that thy Brother is thy Rival:
But I must hide it, for I know thy temper. [Aide
Now, Marcas, now, thy virtue's on the proof:
Put forth thy utmost strength, work every nerve,
And call up all thy father in thy soul:
To quell the tyrant Love, and guard thy heart
On this weak side, where most our nature fails,
Would be a conquest worthy Cato's son.
M A RC U S.
Portius, the counsel which I cannot take,
Instead of healing, but upbraids my weakness.
Bid me for honour plunge into a war
Of thickeit foes, and rush on certain death,
Then shalt thou see that Marcus is not flow
To follow glory, and confess his father.
Love is not to be reason'd down, or lost
In high ambition, and a thirst of greatness;
'Tis second life, it grows into the soul,
Warms every vein, and beats in every pulse,
I feel it here: my resolution melts
Behold young Juba, the Numidian Prince !
With how much care he forms himself to glory,
And breaks the fierceness of his native temper,
To copy out our Father's bright example.
He loves our sister Marcia, greatly loves her,
His eyes, his looks, his actions all betray it:
But still the smother'd fondness burns within him.
When most it swells, and labours for a vent,
The sense of honour, and desire of fame
Drive the big pasion back into his heart.
What! shall an African, shall Juba's heir
Reproach great Cato's son, and show the world
A virtue wanting in a Roman soul?
Portius, no more! your words leave ftings behind 'em.
When e'er did Juba, or did Portius, show
A virtue that has cast me at a distance,
And thrown me out in the pursuits of honour?
PORT I U S.
Marcus, I know thy gen'rous temper well;
Fling but th' appearance of dishonour on it,
It strait takes fire, and mounts into a blaze.
MAR CU S.
A Brother's sufferings claim a Brother's pity.
Heaven knows I pity thee: behold my eyes
Even whilft I speak Do they not swim in tears ?
Were but my heart as naked to thy view,
Marcus would see it bleed in his behalf.
M A R CU S.
Why then doft treat me with rebukes, instead
Of kind condoling cares, and friendly forrow?
O Marcus, did I know the way to ease
Thy troubled heart, and mitigate thy pains,
Marcus, believe me, I could die to do it.
MA RC U S.
Thou best of brothers, and thou best of Friends!
Pardon a weak diftemper'd foul, that swells
With sudden gufts, and sinks as soon in calms,
The sport of pallions: but Sempronius comes :
He must not find this softness hanging on me.
Conspiracies no sooner should be form'd
Than executed. What means Portius here?
I like not that cold youth. I muft diffemble,
And speak a language foreign to my heart. [Afde.
Good-morrow Portius! let us once embrace,
Once more embrace; whilst yet we both are free.
"To-morrow should we thus express our friendship,
Each might receive a slave into his arms :
This Sun perhaps, this morning Sun's the last,
That e'er shall rise on Roman liberty.
PORT I U S.
My father has this morning callid together
To this poor hall his little Roman Senate,
(The leavings of Pharfalia) to consult
If yet he can oppose the mighty torrent
That bears down Rome, and all her gods before it,
Or must at length give up the world to Cæfar.
S E M P R O N I U S.
Not all the pomp and majesty of Rome
Can raise her Senate more than Cato's presence.
His virtues render our assembly awful,
They strike with something like religious fear,
And make even Cæfar tremble at the head
Of armies flush'd with conqueft: O my Portiw,
Could I but call that wondrous Man my Father,
Would but thy lifter Marcia be propitious .
To thy friend's vows: I might be bless’d indeed!
PORT IU S.
Alas! Sempronius, would'ft thou talk of love
To Marcia, whilft her father's life's in danger?
Thou might'st as well court the pale trembling Vestal,
When the beholds the holy flame expiring.
S E M P R O N I U S..
The more I see the wonders of thy race,
The more I'm charm'd. Thou must take heed,my Portius !
The world has all its eyes on Cato's son.
Thy father's merit sets thee up to view,
And shows thee in the fairest point of light,
To make thy virtues, or thy faults conspicuous.
Well doft thou seem to check my lingring here
On this important hour-
And while the Fathers of the Senate meet,
In clofe debate to weigh th'events of war,
I'll animate the soldier's drooping courage,
With love of freedom, and contempt of life:
I'll thunder in their ears their country's cause,
And try to rouse up all that's Roman in 'em.
"Tis not in mortals to Command success,
But we'll do more, Sempronius; we'll Deserve it. (Exit.
Curse on the Stripling! how he apes
Ambitiously sententious ! but I wonder
Old Syphax comes not; his Numidian genius
Is well dispos’d to mischief, were he prompt
And eager on it; but he must be spurr'd,
And every moment quickned to the course.
Cato has us'd me ill: he has refused
His daughter Marcia to my ardent vows.
Besides, his baffled arms, and ruin'd cause,
Are bars to my ambition. Cæfar's favour,
That show'rs down greatness on his friends, will raise me
To Rome's first honours. If I give up Cato,
I claim in my reward his captive daughter,
But Syphax comes !