Joseph Addison – Cato Excerpts


A play about Cato the Younger, which ended up being wildly successful in both Britain and America, and was a source of inspiration during the American Revolution.


In progress.

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As it is Acted at the






Ecce Spectaculum digaum, ad quad respiciat, intentus aperi suo, Deus! Ecce par Deo dignum, vir fortis cum mala fortuna compositiis! Non video, inquam, quid habeat in terris Jupiter pulchrius, si convertere animum veliz, quam ut spectet Catonem, jam partibus non semel fractis, nihilominus inter rumas publicas erectum.

Sen. de Divin. Prov.




Printed for JACOB TONSON, at Shakespear’s-Head over-against Catherine-Street in the Strand.




[Page 2]








WHILE you the Fierce divided Britons Awe, 

And Cato, with an equal Virtue, draw, 

While Envy is it self in Wonder lost,

And Factions strive who shall applaud you most; 

Forgive the fond Ambition of a Friend, 

Who hopes himself not you, to recommend; 

And joins th’ Applause which all the Learn’d bestow

On one to whom a perfect Work they owe.

To my * light Scenes I once inscrib’d Your Name,

And impotently strove to Borrow Fame:

Soon will that die, which adds they Name to mine, 

Let me, then, live, join’d to a Work of Thine.



[Page 3]


Tho’ Cato Shines in Virgil’s Epick Song, 

Prescribing Laws among th’ Elysian Throng; 

Tho’ Lucan’s Verse, exalted by the Name, 

O’er Gods themselves has rais’d the Heroe’s Fame; 

The Roman Stage did ne’er his Image see,

Drawn at full Length; a Task reserv’d for Thee.

By thee we view the finish’d Figure rise,

And awful march before our ravish’d Eyes;

We hear his Voice, asserting Virtue’s Cause;

His Fate renew’d our deep Attention draws,

Excites by Turns our various Hopes and Fears,

And all the Patriot in they scene appears.

On Tyber’s Banks thy Thought was first inspir’d;

‘Twas there, to some indulgent Grove retir’d,

Rome’s ancient Fortunes rolling in they Mind, 

Thy happy Muse this manly Work design’d:

Or in a Dream though saw’st Rome’s Genius Stand,

And, leading Cato in his sacred Hand,

Point out th’immortal Subject of thy Lays,

And ask this Labour, to record his Praise.

‘Tis done—the Heroe lives, and charms our Age!

While nobler Morals grace the British Stage.

Great Shakespear’s Ghost, the solemn Strain to hear,

(Methinks I see the laurell’d Shade appear!)

Will hover o’er the Scene, and wondring view

His Fav’rite Brutus rivall’d thus by You.

Such Roman Greatness in each Action Shines,

Such Roman Eloquence adorns your Lines.


[Page 4]


That sure the Sybills Books this Year foretold; 

And in some mystick Leaf was seen inroll’d,

‘Rome, turn thy mournful Eyes from Africk’s Shore,

Nor in her Sands thy Cato’s Tombs explore!

When thrice Six hundred times the circling Sun

His annual Race shall thro’ the Zodiack run,

An Isle remote his Monument shall rear,

And ev’ry generous Briton pay a Tear.

  1. HUGHES.


WHAT do we see! is Cato then become

A greater Name in Britain than in Rome?

Does Mankind Now admire his Virtues more, 

Tho’ Lucan, Horace, Virgil wrote before?

How will Posterity this Truth explain?

“Cato begins to live in Anna’s Reign:

The World’s great Chiefs in Council on the Arms, 

Rise in your Lines with more exalted Charms; 

Illustrious Deeds in distant Nations wrought,

And Virtues by departed Heroes taught; 

Raise in your Soul a pure immortal Flame, 

Adorn your Life, and consecrate your Fame; 

To your Renown all Ages you Subdue, 

And Caesar fought, and Cato bled for you.


All Souls College, EDWARD YOUNG.



[Page 5]


‘TIS nobly done thus to enrich the Stage,

And raise the Thoughts of a degen’rate Age, 

To show how endless Joys from Freedom spring:

How Life in Bondage is a worthless thing.

The inborn Greatness of your Soul we view,

You tread the Paths frequented by the Few.

With so much Strength your write, and so much Ease,

Virtue, and Sense! how durst you hope to please?

Yet Crowds the Sentiments of ev’ry Line

Impartial clap’d, and own’d the Work divine.

Ev’n the four Criticks, who malicious ame,

Eager to censure, and resolv’d to blame,

Finding the Heroe regularly rise,

Great, while he lives. but greater, when he dies,

Sullen approv’d too obstinate to melt,

And sicken’d with the Pleasures, which they felt.

Not so the Fair their Passions secret kept,

Silent they heard, but as they heard, they wept,

When gloriously the blooming Marcus dy’d,

And Cato told the Gods, I’m satisfy’d.

See! how your Lays the British Youth inflame!

They long to shoot. And ripen into Fame.

Applauding Theatres disturb their Rest.

And unborn CATO’s heave in ev’ry Breast.

Their nightly Dreams, their daily Thoughts repeat,

And Pulses high with fancy’d Glories beat.

So, griev’d to view the Marathonian Spoils,

The young THEMISTOCLES vow’d equals Toils;


[Page 6]

Did then his Schemes of future Honours draw

From the long Triumphs, which with Tears he saw.

How shall I your unrival’d Worth proclaim,

Lost in the spreading Circles of your Fame!

We saw you the great William’s Praise rehearse,

And paint Britannia’s Joys in Roman verse.

We heard at distance soft, enchanting Strains,

From blooming Mountains, and Italian Plains.

Virgil began in English Dress to shine,

His Voice, his Looks, his Grandeur still Divine:

From him too soon unfriendly you withdrew,

But brought the tuneful OVID to our View.

Then, the delightful Theme of ev’ry Tongue,

Th’ immortal MARLB’ROUGH was your daring Song.

From Clime to Clime the mighty Victor flew,

From Clime to Clime as swiftly you pursue.

Still with the Heroe’s glow’d the Poet’s Flame,

Still with his Conquests you enlarg’d your Fame.

With boundless Raptures here theMuse could swell,

And on your ROSAMOND for ever dwell:

There op’ning Sweets, and ev’ry fragrance Flow’r

Luxuriant smile, a never-fading Bow’r.

Next, human Follies kindly to expose,

You change from Numbers but not sink in Prose:

Whether in visionary Scenes you Play,

Refine our Tastes, or laugh our Crimes away.

Now by the buskin’d Muse you shine confest,

The Patriot kindles in the Poet’s Breast.

Such Energy of Sense might Pleasure raise,

Tho’ unembellish’d with the Charms of Phrase:


[Page 7]

Such Charms of Phrase would with Success be crown’d,

Tho’ Nonsense flow’d in the melodious Sound.

The chastest Virgin needs no Blushes fear,

The Learn’d themselves, not uninstructed, hear.

The Libertine, the Pleasures us’d to roul,

And idly sport with an immortal Soul,

Here comes, and by the virtuous Heathen taught,

Turn pale, and trembles at the dreadful Thought.

When e’er you traverse vast Numidia’s Plains,

What sluggish Briton in his Isle remains?

When Juba seeks the Tyger with Delight,

We beat the Thicket, and provoke the Fight.

By the Description warm’d, we fondly sweat,

And in the chilling East-Wind pant with Heat.

What Eyes behold not, how the Stream refines,

Till by Degrees the floating Mirror Shines?

While Hurricanes in circling Eddies play, 

Tear up the Sands, the sweep whole Plains away,

We shrink with Horror, and confess our Fear,

And all the sudden sounding Ruin here.

When purple Robes, disdain’d with Blood, deceive,

And make poor Marcia beautifully Grieve,

When she her secret Thoughts no more conceals,

Forgets the Woman, and her Flame reveals,

Well may the Prince exult with noble Pride,

Not for his Libyan Crown, but Roman Bride.

But I in vain on single Features dwell.

While all the Parts of the fair Piece excel.

So rich the Store, so dubious is the FEast,

We know not, which to pass, or which to taste.


[Page 8]

The shining Incidents so justly fall,

We may the whole, new Scenes of Transport call.

Thus Jewellers confound our wand’ring Eyes,

And with variety of Gemms surprise.

Here Sapphires, here the Sardian Stone is seen,

The Topaz yellow, and the Jasper green.

The costly Brilliant there, confus’dly bright.

From num’rous Surfaces darts trembling Light.

The diff’rent Colours mingling in a blaze,

Silent we stand, unable where to praise, 

In Pleasure sweetly lost ten thousand Ways.


Trinity College, L. EUSDEN.



TOO long hath Love engross’d Britannia’s Stage,

And sunk to Softness all our Tragic Rage;

By that alone did Empires fall or rise,

And Fate depended on a Fair One’s Eyes:

The sweet Infection, mixt with dang’rous Art,

Debas’d our Manhood, while it sooth’d the Heart.

Thou scorn’st to raise a Grief thy self must blame,

Nor from our Weakness steal’st a vulgar Fame:

A Patriot’s Fall may justly melt the Mind,

And Tears flow Nobly, shed for all Mankind.

How do our Souls with gen’rous Pleasure glow!

Our Hearts exulting, while our Eyes o’erflow,


[Page 9]

When thy firm Hero Stands beneath the Weight

Of all his stuff’rings venerably Great;

Rome’s poor Remains still shelt’ring by his Side,

With conscious Virtue, and becoming Pride.

The aged Oak thus rears his Head in Air,

His Sap exhausted   and his Branches bare;

Midst Storms and Earthquakes he maintains his State,

Fixt deep in Earth, and fasten’d by his Weight:

His naked Boughs still lend the Shepherds Aid, 

And his old Trunk projects an   awful Shade.

Amidst the Joys triumphant Peace bestows,

Our Patriots sudden at His glorious Woes,

Awhile they let the World’s great Bus’ness wait,

Anxious for Rome, and Sigh for CATO’s Fate.

Here taught how ancient Heroes rose to Fame,

Our Britons crowd, and catch the Roman Flame,

Where States and Senates well might lend an Ear,

And Kings and Priests without a Blush appear.

France boasts no more, but, fearful to engage,

Now first pays Homage to her Rival’s Stage,

Hastes to learn thee, and learning shall submit

Alike to British Amrs, and British Wit:

No more she’ll wonder, (forc’d to do us Right)

Who Think like Romans   could like Romans Fight.

Thy Oxford smiles this glorious Work to see, 

And fondly triumphs in a Son like Thee.

The Senates, Consuls, and the Gods of Rome,

Like old Acquaintance at their nativeg Home,

In Thee we find:  Each Deed   each Word express,

And ev’ry Thoughts that swell’d a Roman Breast.


[Page 10] 

We trace each Hint that could thy Soul inspire

With Virgil’s Judgment, and with Lucan’s Fire;

We know thy Worth and—give us leave to boast,

We most admire, because we know thee most.






WHEN your gen’rous Labour first I view’d,

And Cato’s Hands in his own Blood imbru’d;

That Scene of Death so terrible appears,

My Soul could only thank you with her Tears.

Yet with such wondrous Art your skilful Hand

Does all the Passions of the Soul command,

That even my Grief to Praise and Wonder turn’d,

And envy’d the great Death with first I mourn’d.

What Pen but yours cou’d draw the doubtful strife,

Of Honour strugling with the Love of Life?

Describe the Patriot, obstinately Good,

As hov’ring o’er Eternity he stood:

The wide, th’ unbounded Ocean lay before

His piercing Sight, and Heav’n, the distant Shore.

Secure of endless Bliss, with fearless Eyes,

He grasps the Dagger, and its Point defies,

And rushes out of Life, to snatch the glorious Prize.

How would old Rome rejoice, to hear you tell

How just her Patriot liv’d, how great he fell!


[Page 11]

Recount his wondrous Probity and Truth,

And form new Juba’s in the British Youth.

Their gen’rous Souls, when He resigns his Breath,

Are pleas’d with Ruin, and in Love with Death.

And when her conqu’ring Sword Britannia draws,

Resolve to Perish, or defend her Cause.

Now first on Albion’s Theatre we see,

A perfect Image of what Man should be;

The glorious Character is now express,

Of virtue dwelling in a human Breast.

Drawn at full Length by your Immortal Lines,

In Cato’s Soul, as in her Heav’n she Shines.


All-Souls College,



[Page 12]


Left with the Printer by an Unknown Hand.


NOW we may speak, since Cato speaks no more;

‘Tis Praise at length, ‘twas Rapture all before;

When crowded Theatres with Iös rung

Sent to the Skies, from whence thy Genius sprung:

Ev’n Civil Rage a while in thine was lost;

And Factions strove but to applaud thee most:

Nor could Enjoyment pall our longing Taste;

But every Night was dearer than the last.

As when old Rome, in a malignant Hour

Depriv’d of some returning Conqueror,

Her Debt of Triumph to the Dead discharg’d,

For Fame, for Treasure, and her Bounds enlarg’d:

And, while his Godlike Figure mov’d along,

Alternate Passions fir’d th’ adoring Throng;

Tears flow’d from every Eye, and Shouts from every Tongue.

So in thy pompous Lines has Cato far’d.

Grac’d with an ample, though a late Reward:

A greater Victor we in Him revere;

A nobler Triumph crowns his Image here.

With Wonder, as with Pleasure, we survey

A Theme so scanty wrought into a Play;

So vast a Pile on such Foundations [plas’d?];

Like Ammon’s Temple rear’d on Libia’s Waste:


[PAGE 13]

Behold its glowing Paint! its easie Weight!

Its nice Proportions! and stupendous Height!

How Chaste the Conduct! how divine the Rage!

A Roman Worthy on a Grecian Stage!

But where shall Cato’s Praise begin or end;

Inclin’d to melt, and yet untaught to bend,

The firmest Patriot, and the gentlest Friend?

How great his Genius, when the Traytor Croud

Ready to strike the Blow their Fury vow’d;

Quell’d by his Look, and listning to his Lore,

Learn, like his Passions, to rebel no more!

When, lavish of his boiling Blood, to prove

The Cure of slavish Life, and slighted Love,

Brave Marcus new in early Death appears,

While Cato counts his Wounds, and not his Years;

Who, checking private Grief, the Publick mourns,

Commands the Pity he so greatly scorns.

But when he strikes (to crown his generous Part)

That honest, staunch, impracticable Heart;

No Tears, no Sobs pursue his parting Breath;

The dying Roman shames the Pomp of Death.

O sacred Freedom, which the Powers bestow

To season Blessings, and to soften Woe;

Plant of our Growth, and Aim of all our Cares,

The Toil of Ages, and the Crown of Wars:

If, taught by thee, thy Poet’s Wit has flow’d

In Strains as precious as his Heroe’s Blood;

Preserve those Strains, an everlasting Charm

To keep that Blood, and they Remembrance warm:


[Page 14]

Be this thy Guardian Image still secure;

In vain shall Force invade, or Fraud allure;

Our great Palladium shall perform its Part,

Fix’d and enshrin’d in every British Heart.


THE Mind to Virtue is by Verse subdu’d;

And the True Poet is a Publick Good.

This Britain feels, while, by your Lines inspir’d,

Her Free-born Sons to glorious Thoughts are fir’d.

In Rome had you espos’d the vanquish’d Cause,

Enflam’d her Senate, and upheld her Laws;

Your many Scenes had Liberty restor’d,

And giv’n the just Success to Cato’s Sword:

O’er Caesar’s Arms your Genius had prevail’d;

And the Muse triumph’d, where the Patriot fail’d.




[Page 15]


By Mr. POPE.

Spoken by Mr. WILKS.


TO wake the Soul by tender Strokes of Art,

To raise the Genius, and to mend the Heart,

To make Mankind in conscious Virtue bold,

Live o’er each Scene, and Be what they behold:

For this the Tragic-Muse first trod the stage,

Commanding Tears to stream thro’ every Age;

Tyrants no more their Savage Nature kept,

And Foes to Virtue wonder’d how they wept.

Our Author shuns by vulgar Springs to move

The Hero’s Glory, or the Virgin’s Love;

In pitying Love we but our Weakness show,

And wild Ambition well deserves its Woe.

Here Tears shall flow from a more gen’rous Cause,

Such Tears as Patriots shed for dying Laws: 

He bids your Breasts with Ancient Ardor rise,

And calls forth Roman Drops from British Eyes.

Virtue confess’d in human Shape he draws,

What Plato Thought, and God-like Cato Was:

No common Object to your Sight displays.

But what with Pleasure Heav’n it self surveys;

A brave Man struggling in the storms of Fate,

And greatly falling with a [falling] State!

While Cato gives his little Senate Laws.

What Bosom beats not in his Country’s Cause?


[Page 16]

Who sees him act, but envies ev’ry Deed?

Who hears him groan, and does not wish to bleed?

Ev’n when proud Caesar ‘midst triumphal Cars,

The Spoils of Nations, and the Pomp of Wars,

Ignobly Vain, and impotently Great,

Show’d Rome her Cato’s Figure drawn in State,

As her dead Father’s rev’rend Image past,

The Pomp was darken’d, and the Day o’ercast,

The Triumph ceas’d—Tears gush’d from ev’ry Eye;

The World’s great Victor past unheeded byl

Her Last good man dejected Rome ador’d,

And honour’d Caesar’s less than Cato’s Sword.


Britains attend: Be Worth like this approv’d,

And show you have the Virtue to be mov’d.

With honest score the first fam’d Cato view’d

Rome learning Arts from Greece, whom she subdu’d;

Our Scene precariously subsists too long

On French Translation, and Italian song.

Dare to have sense your selves; Assert the Stage, 

Be justly warm’d with your own Native Rage.

Such Plays alone should please a British Ear,

As Cato’s self had not disdain’d to hear.


[Page 17]

Dramatis Personae.



CATO. Mr. Booth.

Luc[ius], a Senator. Mr. Keen.

Se[mpron]ius, a Senator. Mr. Mills.

Juba, Prince of Numidia. Mr. Wilks.

Syphax, General of the Numidians. Mr. Cibber.

Portius, Sons of Cato. Mr. Powell.

Marcus, [Sons of Cato.] Mr. Rian.

Decius, Ambassador from Caesar. Mr. Bowman.

Mutineers, Guards, &c.




Marcia, Daughter to Cato. Mrs. Oldfield.

Lucia, Daughter to Lucius. Mrs. Porter.


SCENE a large Hall in the Governor’s Palace of Utica.


[Page 18]





Portius, Marcus.



THE Dawn is over-cast, the Morning low’rs,

And heavily in Clouds brings on the day,

The great, th’ important Day; big with Fate

Of Cato and of Rome.—Our Father’s Death

Would fill up all the Guilt of Civil War,

And close the Scene of Blood.  Already Cesar

Has ravaged more than half the Globe, and sees

Mankind grown thin by his destructive Sword:

Should he go further, Numbers would be wanting

To form new Battels, and support his Crimes.


[Page 19]

Ye Gods, what Havock does Ambition make

Among your Works!

Marc. Thy steddy Temper, Portius,

Can look on Guilt, Rebellion, Fraud, and Cesar,

In the calm Lights of mild Philosophy;

I’m tortured, even to Madness, when I think

On the proud Victor: ev’ry time he’s named

Pharsalia rises to my View!—I see

Th’Insulting Tyrant, prancing o’er the Field

Strow’d with Rome’s Citizens, and drench’d in Slaughter;

His Horse’s Hoofs wet with Patrician Blood!

Oh Portius, is there not some chosen Curse,

Some hidden Thunder in the Stores of Heav’n,

Red with uncommon Wrath, to blast the Man,

Who owes his Greatness to his Country’s Ruin?

Por. Believe me, Marcus, ‘tis an impious Greatness,

And mixt with too much Horrour to be envy’d:

How does the Lustre of our Father’s Actions,

Through the dark Cloud of Ills that cover him,

Break out, and burn with more triumphant Brightness!

His Suff’rings shine, and spread a Glory round him;

Greatly unfortunate, he fights the Cause

Of Honour, Virtue, Liberty, and Rome.

His Sword ne’er fell but on the Guilty Head;

Oppression, Tyranny, and Pow’r usurp’d,

Draw all the Vengeance of his Arm upon ‘em.

Marc. Who knows not this? But what can Cato do

Against a World, a base degen’rate World,

That court’s the Yoke, and bows the Neck to Cesar?

Pent up in Utica he vainly forms


[Page 20]

A poor Epitome of Roman Greatness,

And, cover’d with Numidian Guards, directs

A feeble Army, and an empty Senate,

Remnants of mighty Battels fought in vain.

By Heav’ns, such Virtues, join’d with such Success,

Distract my very Soul: Our Father’s Fortunte

Wou’d almost tempt us to renounce his Precepts.

Por. Remember what our Father oft has told us:

The Ways of Heav’n are dark and intricate;

Puzzled in Mazes, and perplext with Errors,

Our Understanding trace ‘em in vain,

Lost and bewilder’d in the fruitless Search;

Nor sees with how much Art the Windings run,

Nor where the REgular Confusion ends.

Marc. These are Suggestions of a Mind at Ease:

Oh Portius, didst thou taste but half the Griefs

That wring my Soul, thou cou’dst not talk thus coldly.

Passion unpity’d, and succeslless Love,

Plant Daggers in my Heart, and aggravate

My other Griefs.  Were but my Lucia kind!—

Por. Thou see’st not that they Brother is thy Rival:

But I must hide it, for I know thy Temper.

Now, Marcus, now thy Virtue’s on the Proof:

Put forth they utmost Strength, work ev’ry 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.

Marc. Portius, the Council which I cannot take,

Instead of healing, but upbraids my Weakness.


[Page 21]

Bid me for Honour plunge into a War

Of thickest Foes, and rush on certain Death,

Then shalt thou see that Marcus is not slow

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 ev’ry Vein, and beats in ev’ry Pulse,

I feel it here: My Resolution melts—

Por. 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 Passion 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?

Marc. Portius, no more! your Words leave Stings behind ‘em.

When-e’re did Juba, or did Portius, show

A Virtue that has cast me at a Distance,

And thrown me out in the Pursuits of Honour?

Por. Marcus, I know thy gen’rous Temper well;

Fling but th’ Appearance of Dishonour on it,

Is strait takes Fire and mounts into a Blaze.


[Page 22]

Marc. A Brother’s Suff’rings claim a Brother’s Pity.

Por. Heav’n knows I pity thee: Behold my Eeyes

Ev’n whilst I speak.—Do they not swim in Tears?

Were but my Heart as naked to thy View,

Marcus would see i[t] Bleed in his Behalf.

Marc. Why then dost treat me with Rebukes, instead

Of kind condoling Cares, and friendly Sorrow?

Por. 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.

Marc. Thou best of Brothers, and thou best of Friends!

Pardon a weak distemper’d Soul, that swells

With sudden Gusts, and sinks as soon in Calms,

The Sport of Passions.—But Sempronius Comes:

He must not find this Softness hanging on me.




Enter Sempronius.


Semp. Conspiracies no sooner shou’d be form’d

Than executed.  What means Portius here?

I like not that cold Youth.  I must dissemble,

And speak a Language foreign to my Heart.


Sempronius, Portius.


Good Marrow Portius! let us once embrace,

Once more embrace; whilst yet we both are free.

To-Morrow shou’d we thus express our Friendship,


[Page 23]

Each might receive a Slave into his Arms:

This Sun perhaps, this Morning Sun’s the last,

That e’re shall rise on Roman Liberty.

Por. My Father has this Morning call’d together

To this poor Hall his little Roman Senate,

(The Leavings of Pharsalia) to consult

If yet he can oppose the mighty Torrent

That bears down Rome, and all her Gods, before it,

Or must at length given up the World to Cesar.

Semp. 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 ev’n Cesar tremble at the Head

Of Armies flush’d with Conquest: o my Portius,

Could I but call that wondrous Man my Father,

Wou’d but thy Sifter Marcia be propitious

To thy Friend’s Vows: I might be bless’d indeed!

Por. Alas! Sempronius, wou’dst thou talk of Love

To Marcia, whilst her Father’s Life’s in Danger?

Though might’st as well court the pale trembling Vestal,

When she beholds the Holy Flame expiring.

Semp. 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.

Por. Well dost thou seem to check my Lingring here

On this important Hour—I’ll strait away,


[Page 24]

And while the Fathers of the Senate meet

In close 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 thy 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.


Sempronius solus.


Curse of the Stripling! how he Ape’s his Sire?

Ambitiously sententious!—But I wonder

Old Syphax comes not; his Numidian Genius

Is well disposed to Mischief, were he prompt

And eager on it; but he must be spurr’d,

And ev’ry Moment quickned to the Course.

Cato has used me Ill: He has refused

His Daughter Marcia to my ardent Vows.

Besides, his bassled Arms, and ruined Cause

Are Barrs to my Ambition.  Cesar’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!—


[Page 25]




Syphax, Sempronius.


Syph.Sempronius, all is ready,

I’ve sounded my Numidians, Man by Man,

And find ‘em ripe for a Revolt: They all

Complain aloud of Cato’s Discipline,

And wait but the Command to change their Master.

Semp. Believe me, Syphax, there’s no Time to waste;

Ev’n whilst we speak, our Conqueror comes on,

And gathers Ground upon us ev’ry Moment.

Alas! thou know’st not Ceasar’s active Soul,

With what a dreadful Course he rushes on

From War to War: In vain has Nature form’d

Mountains and Oceans to oppose his Passage;

He bound’s o’er all, victorious in his March:

The Alpes and Pyreneans sink before him,

Through Winds, and Waves, and Storms, he works his way,

Impatient for the Battel: One Day more

Will set the Victor thundring at our Gates.

But tell me, hast thou yet drawn o’er young Juba?

That still wou’d recommend thee more to Ceasar,

And challenge better Terms.

Syph. Alas! he’s lost,

He’s lost, Sempronius; all his Thoughts are full


[Page 26]

Of Cato’s Virtues:—But I’ll try once more

(For ev’ry Instant I expect him here)

If yet I can subdue those stubborn Principles

Of Faith, of Honour, and I know not what,

That have corrupted his Numidian Temper,

And struck th’ Infection into all his Soul.

Semp. Be sure to press upon him ev’ry Motive.

Juba’s Surrender, since his Father’s Death,

Would give up Africk into Ceasar’s Hands,

And make him Lord of half the burning Zone.

Syph. But is it true, Sempronius, that your Senate

Is call’d together? Gods! Thou must be cautious!

Cato has piercing Eyes, and will discern

Our Frauds, unless they’re cover’d thick with ARt.

Semp. Let me alone, good Syphax, I’ll conceal

My Thoughts in Passion (‘tis the surest way,)

I’ll bellow out for Rome and for my Country,

And mouth at Ceasar till I shake the Senate.

Your cold Hypocrisie’s a stale Device,

A worn-out Trick: Wouldst thou be thought in Earnest?

Cloath thy feign’d Zeal in Rage, in Fire, in Fury!

Syph. In troth, thou’rt able to instruct Grey-hairs,

And teach the wily African Deceit!

Semp. Once more, be sure to try thy Skill on Juba.

Mean while I’ll hasten to my Roman Soldiers,

Inflame the Mutiny, and underhand

Blow up their Discontents, till they break out

Unlook’d for, and discharge themselves on Cato.

Remember, Syphax, we must work in Haste:

O think what anxious Moments pass between


[Page 27]

The Birth of Plots, and their last fatal Periods.

Oh! ‘tis a dreadful Interval of Time,

Fill’d up with Horror all, and big with Death!

Destruction hangs on ev’ry Word we speak,

On ev’ry Thought, ‘till the concluding Stroke

Determines all, and closes our Design.



Syphax solus.

I’ll try if yet I can reduce to Reason

This head-strong Youth, and make him spurn at Cato.

The Time is short, Caesar comes rushing on us—

But hold! young Jubasees me, and approaches.




Juba, Syphax.

Jub. Syphax, I joy to meet thee thus alone.

I have observed of late they Looks are fall’n,

O’ercast with gloomy Cares, and Discontents;

Then tell me, Syphax, I conjure thee, tell me,

What are the Thoughts that knit thy Brow in Frowns,

And turn thine Eye thus coldly on thy Prince?

Syph. ‘Tis not my Talent to conceal my Thoughts,

Or carry Smiles and Sun-shine in my Face,

When Discontent sits heavy at my Heart.

I have not yet so much the Roman in me.

Jub. Why do’st thou cast out such ungen’rous Terms

Against the Lords and Sov’reigns of the World?


[Page 28]

Dost thou not see Mankind fall down before them,

And own the Force of their Superior Virtue?

Is there a Nation in the Wilds of Africk,

Amidst our barren Rocks, and burning Sands,

That does not tremble at the Roman Name?

Syph. Gods! where’s the Worth that sets this People up

Above your own Numidia’s tawny Sons!

Do they with Tougher Sinews bend the Bow?

Or flies the Javelin Swifter to its Mark,

Launch’d from the Vigour of a Roman Arm?

Who like our African instructs

The fiery Steed, and trains him to his Hand?

Our guide’s in Troops th’ embattled Elephant,

Loaden with War? These, these are Arts, my Prince,

In which your Zama does not stoop to Rome.

Jub. These are all Virtues of a meaner Rank,

Perfections that are placed in Bones and Nerves.

A Roman Soul is bent on higher Views:

To civilize the rude unpolish’d World,

And lay it under the Restraint of Laws;

To make Man mild, and sociable to Man; 

To cultivate the wild licentious Savage

With Wisdom, Discipline, and lib’ral Arts;

Th’ Embellishments of Life: Virtues like these,

Make Human Nature shine, reform the Soul,

And break our fierce Barbarians into Men.

Syph. Patience kind Heav’ns!—Excuse an old Man warmth.

What are these wond’rous civilizing Arts,

This Roman Polish, and this smooth Behaviour.


[Page 29]

That render Man thus tractable and tame?

Are they not only to disguise our Passions,

To set our Looks at variance with our Thoughts,

To check the Starts and Sallies of the Soul,

And break off all its Commerce with the Tongue;

In short, to change us into other Creatures

Than what our Nature and the Gods design’d us?

Jub. To strike thee Dumb: Turn up thy Eeyes to Cato!

There may’st thou see to what a Godlike Height

The Roman Virtues lift up mortal Man.

While good, and just, and anxious for his Friends,

He’s still severely bent against himself;

Renouncing Sleep, and Rest, and Food, and Ease,

He strives with Thirst and Hunger, Toil and Heat;

And when his Fortune sets before him all

The Pomps and Pleasures that his Soul can wish,

His rigid Virtue will accept of none.

Syph. Believe me, Prince, there’s not an African

That traverses our vast Numidian Desarts,

In quest of Prey, and lives upon his Bow,

But better practices these boasted Virtues.

Coarse are his Meals, the Fortune of the Chase,

Amidst the running Stream he flakes his Thirst,

Toil’s all the Day, and at th’ approach of Night

On the first friendly Bank he throws him down,

Or rests his Head upon a Rock ‘till Morn:

Then rises fresh, pursues his wonted Game,

And if the following Day he chance to find

A new Repast, or an Untasted Spring,

Blesses his Stars, and thinks it Luxury.


[Page 30]

Jub. Thy Prejudices, Syphax, won’t discern

What Virtues grow from Ignorance and Choice,

Nor how the Hero differs from the Brute.

But grant that others cou’d with equal Glory

Look down on Pleasurers, and the Baits of Sense;

Where shall we find the Man that bears Affliction,

Great and Majestick in his Griefs, like Cato?

Heav’ns, with what Strength, what Steadiness of Mind,

He Triumphs in the midst of all his Suff’rings!

How does he rise against a Load of Woes,

And thank the Gods, that throw the Weight upon him!

Syph. ‘Tis Pride, rank Pride, an Haughtiness of Soul:

I think the Romans call it Stoicism.

Had not your Ryal Father thought so highly

Of Roman Virtue, and of Cato’s Cause,

He had not fall’n by a Slave’s Hand, inglorious:

Nor would his slaughter’d Army now have lain

On Africk’s Sands, disfigur’d with their Wounds,

To gorge the Wolves and Vultures of Numidia.

Jub. Why do’st thou call my Sorrows up afresh?

My Father’s Name brings Tears into my Eyes.

Syph. Oh, that you’d profit by your Father’s Ills!

Jub. What wou’dst thou have me do?

Syph. Abandon Cato.

Jub. Syphax, I shou’d be more than twice an Orphan

By such a Loss.

Syph. Ay, there’s the Tie that binds you!

You long to call him Father.   Marcia’s Charms

Work in your Heart unseen, and plead for Cato.

No wonder you are deaf to all I say.


[Page 31]

Jub. Syphax, your Zeal becomes importunate;

I’ve hitherto permitted it to rave,

And talk at large; but learn to keep it in,

Least it should take more Freedom than I’ll give it.

Syph. Sir, your great Father never used me thus.

Alas, he’d Dead! But can you e’er forget

The tender Sorrows, and the Pangs of Nature, 

The fond Embraces, and repeated Blessings, 

Which you drew from him in your last Farewel?

Still must I cherish the dear, sad, Remembrance,

At once to Torture, and to please my Soul.

The good old King, at parting, wrung my Hand,

(His Eyes brim-full of Tears) then fighting cry’d,

Prithee be careful of my Son!—his Grief

Swell’d up so high, he could not utter more.

Jub. Alas, thy Story melts away my Soul.

That best of Fathers! how shall I discharge

The Gratitude and Duty, which I owe him!

Syph. By laying up his Councils in your Heart.

Jub. His Councils bade me yield to thy Directions

Then, Syphax, chide me in severest Terms,

Vent all thy Passion, and I’ll stand its shock,

Calm and unruffled as a Summer-Sea,

When not a Breath of Wind flie’s o’er its Surface.

Syph. Alas, my Prince, I’d guide you to your Safety.

Jub. I do believe thou wou’dst: but tell me how?

Syph. Fly from the Fate that follows Ceasar’s Foes.

Jub. My Father scorn’d to do it.

Syph. And therefore dy’d.

Jub. Better to die ten thousand thousand Deaths,

Than wound my Honour.


[Page 32]

Syph. Rather say your Love.

Jub. Syphax, I’ve promis’d to preserve my Temper.

Why wild thou urge me to confess a Flame,

I long have stifled, and wou’d fain conceal?

Syph. Believe me, Prince, tho’ hard to conquer Love,

‘Tis easie to divert and break its Force:

Absence might cure it, or a second Mistress

Light up another Flame, and put out this.

The glowing Dames of Zama’s Royal Court

Have Faces flusht with more exalted Charms;

The Sun, that rolls his Chariot o’er their Heads,

Works up more Fire and Colour in their Cheeks:

Were you with these, my Prince, you’d soon forget

The pale, unripen’d, Beauties of the North.

Jub. ‘Tis not a Sett of Features, or Complexion.

The Tincture of a Skin, that I admire.

Beauty soon grows familiar to the Lover,

Fades in his Eye, and palls upon the Sense.

The virtuous Marcia tow’ers above her Sex[:]

True, she is fair, (Oh, how divinely fair!)

But still the lovely Maid improves her Charms

With inward Greatness, unaffected Wisdom,

And Sanctity of Manners.  Cato’s Soul

Shines out in every thing she acts or speaks,

While winning Mildness and attractive Smiles

Dwell in her Looks, and with becoming Grace

Soften the Rigour of her Father’s Virtues.

Syph. How does your Tongue grow wanton in her Praise!

But on my Knees I beg you wou’d consider—


[Page 33]

Enter Marcia and Lucia.

Jub. Hah! Syphax, is’t not she!—She moves this Way:

And with her Lucia, Lucius’s fair Daughter.

My Heart beats thick—I prithee Syphax leave me.

Syph. Ten thousand Curses fasten on ‘em both!

Now will this Woman with a single Glance

Undo, what I’ve been lab’ring all this while.





Juba, Marica, Lucia.


Jub. Hail charming Maid! how does thy Beauty smooth

The Face of War, and make ev’n Horror smile!

At Sight of Thee my Heart shakes off its Sorrows;

I feel a Dawn of Joy break in upon me,

And for a while forget th’ Approach of Ceasar.

Mar. I shou’d be grief’d, young Prince, to think my Preference

Unbent your Thoughts, and slacken’d ‘em to Arms,

While, warm with Slaughter, our victorious Foe

Threatens aloud, and calls you to the Field.

Jub. O Marcia, let me hope thy kind Concerns

And gentle Wishes follow me to Battel!

The Thought will give me new Vigour to my Arm,

Add Strength and Weight to my descending Sword,

And drive it in a Tempest on the Foe.

Mar. My Pray’ers and Wishes always shall attend

The Friends of Rome, the glorious Cause of Virtue,


[Page 34]

And Men approv’d of by the Gods and Cato.

Jub. That Juba may deserve thy pious Cares,

I’ll gaze for ever on thy Godlike Father,

Transplanting, one by one, into my Life

His bright Perfections, ‘till I shine like him.

Mar. My Father never at a Time like this

Wou’d lay out his great Soul in Words, and waste

Such precious Moments.

Jub. Thy Reproofs are just,

Thou virtuous Maid; I’ll hasten to my Troops,

And fire their languid Souls with Cato’s Virtue.

If e’re I lead them to the Field, when all

The War shall stand ranged in its just Array,

And dreadful Pomp: Then will I think on thee!

O Lovely Maid, Then will I think on Thee!

And, in the shock of charging Hosts, remember

What glorious Deeds shou’d grace the Man, who hopes

For Marcia’s Love.





Lucia, Marcia.

Luc. Marcia, you’re too severe:

How cou’d you chide the young good-natured Prince,

And drive him from you with so stern an Air,

A Prince that loves and dotes on you to Death?

Mar. ‘Tis therefore, Lucia, that I chide him from me.

His Air, his Voice, his Looks, and honest Soul

Speak all so movingly in his Behalf,


[Page 35]

I dare not trust my self to hear him talk.

Luc. Why will you fight against so sweet a Passion,

And steel your Heart to such a World of Charms?

Mar. How, Lucia, wou’dst thou have me sink away

In pleasing Dreams, and lose my self in Love,

When ev’ry momen Cato’s Life’s at Stake?

Caesar comes arm’d with Terror and Revenge,

And aims his Thunder at my Father’s Head:

Shou’d not the sad Occasion swallow up

My other Cares, and draw them all into it?

Luc. Why have not I this Constancy of Mind,

Who have so many Griefs to try its Force?

Sure, Nature form’d me of her sof[t]est Mould,

Enfeebled all my Soul with tender Passions, 

And sunk me ev’n below my own weak Sex:

Pity and Love, by turns, oppress my Heart.

Mar. Lucia, disburthen all thy Cares on me,

And let me share thy most retired Distress;

Tell me who raises up this Conflict in thee?

Luc. I need not blush to name them, when I tell thee

They’re Marcia’s Brothers, and the Sons of Cato.

Mar. They both behold thee with their Sister’s Eyes:

And often have reveal’d their Passion to me.

But tell me, whose Address thou favour’st most?

I long to know, and yet I Dread to hear it.

Luc. Which is it Marcia wishes for?

Mar. For neither—

And yet for both—The Youths have equal Share

In Marcia’s Wishes, and divide their Sister:

But tell me which of them is Lucia’s Choice?


[Page 36]

Luc. Marcia, they both are high in my Esteem,

But in my Love—Why wilt thou make me name him?

Thou know’st it is a blind and foolish Passion,

Pleas’d and disgusted with it knows not what—

Mar. O Lucia, I’m perplex’d, O tell me which

I must hereafter call my happy Brother?

Luc. Suppose ‘twere Portius, cou’d you blame my Choice?

O Portius, thou hast stol’n away my Soul!

With what a graceful Tenderness he loves!

And breath’s the softest, the sincerest Vows!

Complacency, and Truth, and manly Sweetness

Dwell ever on his Tongue, and smooth his Thoughts.

Marcus is over-warm, his fond Complaints

Have so much Earnestness and Passion in them,

I hear him with a secret kind of horrour,

And tremble at his Vehemence of Temper.

Mar. Alas poor Youth! how canst thou throw him from thee?

Lucia, thou know’st not half the Love he bears thee;

Whene’er he speaks from thee, his Heart’s in Flames,

He sends out all his Soul in ev’ry Word,

And thinks, and talks, and looks like one transported.

Unhappy Youth! how will thy Coldness raise

Tempests and Storms in his afflicted Bosom!

I dread the Consequence

Luc. You seem to plead

Against your Brother Portius

Mar. Heav’n forbid!

Had Portius been the unsuccessful Lover,

The same Compassion wou’d have fall’n on him.


[Page 37]

Luc. Was ever Virgin Love distrest like mine!

Portius himself oft falls Tears before me,

As if he mourn’d his Rival’s ill Success,

Then bids me hide the Motions of my Heart,

Nor show which Way it turns.   So much he fears

The sad Effects, that it would have on Marcus.

Mar. He knows too well how easily he’s fired,

And wou’d not plunge his Brother in Despair,

But waits for happier Times, and kinder Moments.

Luc. Alas, too late I find my self involved

In endless Griefs, and Labyrinths of Woe,

Born to afflict my Marcia’s Family,

And sow Dissention in the Hearts of Brothers.

Tormenting Thought! it cuts into my Soul.

Mar. Let us not, Lucia, aggravate our Sorrows,

But to the Gods permit th’ Event of Things.

Our Lives, discolour’d with our present Woes,

May still grow bright, and smile with happier Hours.

So the pure limpid Stream, when foul with Stains

Of rushing Torrents, and descending Rains,

Works it self clear, and as it runs, refines;

‘Till by Degrees, the floating Mirrour shines,

Reflects each Flow’r that on the Border grows,

And a new Heav’n in its fair Bosom shows.



End of the First Act.


[Page 38]








ROME still survives in this assembled Senate!

Let us remember we are Cato’s Friends,

And act like Men who claim that glorious Title.

Luc. Cato will soon be here, and open to us

Th’ Occasion of our Meeting. Heark! he comes!

May all the Guardian Gods of Rome direct him!

[A Sound of Trumpets.


Enter Cato.


Cato. Fathers, we once again are met in Council.

Caesar’s Approach has summon’d us together.

And Rome attends her Fate from our Resolves:

How shall we treat this bold aspiring Man?

Success still follows him, and backs his Crimes:

Pharsalia gave him Rome; Egypt has since

Received his Yoke, and the whole Nile is Caesar’s.

Why should I mention Juba’s Overthrow,

And Scipio’s Death? Numidia’s burning Sands


[Page 39]

Still smoak with Blood. ‘Tis time we should decree

What Course to take.  Our Foe advances on us,

And envies us ev’n Libya’s sultry desarts.

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 Suceess to a Submission?

Sempronius speak.

Semp. My Voice is still for War.

Gods, can a Roman Senate long debate

Which of the two to chuse, 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.

Rise, Fathers, rise! ‘tis Rome demands your Help;

Rise, and revenge her slaughter’d Citizens,

Or share their Fate! The Corps of half her Senate

Manure the Fields of Thessaly, while we

Sit here, delib’rating in cold Debates,

If we should sacrifice our Lives to Honour,

Or wear them out in Servitude and Chains.

Rouse up for Shame! Our Brothers of Pharsalia

Point at their Wounds, and cry aloud—To Battel!

Great Pompey’s Shade complain’s that we are slow,

And Scipio’s Ghost walk’s unrevenged amongst us!

Cato. Let not a Torrent of impetuous Zeal

Transport thee thus beyond the Bounds of Reason:


[Page 40]

True Fortitude is seen in great Exploits

That Justice warrant’s, and that Wisdom guide’s,

All else is tow’ring Frenzy and Distraction.

Are not the Lives of those, who draw the Sword

In Rome’s Defence, entrusted to our Car?

Should we thus lead them to a Field of Slaughter,

Might not th’ impartial World with Reason say

We lavisht at our Deaths the Blood of Thousands,

To grace our Fall, and make our Ruin glorious?

Lucius, we next would know what’s your Opinion.

Luc. My Thoughts, I must confess, are turn’d on Peace.

Already have our Quarrels fill’d the World

With Widows and with Orphans: Scythia mourn’s

Our guilty Wars, and Earth’s remotest Regions

Lie half unpeopled by the Feuds of Rome:

‘Tis time to sheath the Sword, and spare Mankind.

It is not Caesar, but the Gods, my Fathers,

The Gods declare against us and repell

Our vain Attempts. To urge the Foe to Battel,

(Prompted by blind Revenge and wild Despair)

Were to refuse th’ Awards of Providence,

And not to rest in Heav’ns Determination.

Already have we shown our Love to Rome,

Now let us show Submission to the Gods.

We took up Arms, not to revenge our selves,

But free the Common-wealth; when this End fail’s,

Arms have no further Use: Our Country’s Cause,

That drew our Swords, now wrest ‘em from our Hands,

And bid’s us not delight in Roman Blood,

Unprofitably shed; what Men could do


[Page 41]

Is done already: Heav’n and Earth will witness,

If Rome must fall, that we are Innocent.

Semp. This smooth Discourse and mild Behaviour oft

Conceal a Traytor—Something whispers me

All is not right—Cato, beware of Lucius.

[Aside to Cato.

Cato. Let us appear nor Rash nor Diffident:

Immod’rate Valour swell’s into a Fault,

And Fear, admitted into publick Councils,

Betray’s like Treason.  Let us Shun ‘em both.

Fathers, I cannot see that our Affairs,

Are grown thus desp’rate. We have Bulwarks round us;

Within our Walls are Troops enured to Toil

In Africk’s Heats, and season’d to the Sun;

Numidia’s spacious Kingdom lie’s behind us,

Ready to rise at its young Prince’s Call.

While there is Hope, do not distrust the Gods;

But wait at least till Caesar’s near Approach

Force us to yield.   ‘Twill never be too late

To Sue for Chains, and own a Conqueror.

Why should Rome fall a Moment ere her time?

No, let us draw her Term of Freedom out

In its full Length, and spin it to the last.

So shall we gain still one Day’s Liberty;

And let me perish, but, in Cato’s Judgment,

A Day, an Hour of virtuous Liberty,

Is worth a whole Eternity in Bondage.


[Page 42]

Enter Marcus.


Marc. Fathers, this Moment, as I watch’d the Gates

Lodg’d on my Post, a Herald is arrived

From Caesar’s Camp, and with him comes old Decius,

The Roman Knight; he carrys in his Looks

Impatience, and demands to speak with Cato.

Cato. By your Permission, Fathers, bid him enter.

[Exit Marcus.

Decius was once my Friend, but other Prospects

Have loosed those Ties, and bound him fast to Caesar.

HIs Message may determine our Resolves.



Decius, Cato.

Dec. Caesar sends Health to Cato—

Cato. Cou’d he sent it

To Cato’s slaughter’d Friends, it wou’d be welcome.

Are not your Orders to address the Senate?

Dec. My Business is with Cato: Caesar sees

The Streights, to which you’re driv’n; and, as he knows

Cato’s high Worth, is anxious for your Life.

Cato. My Life is grafted on the Fate of Rome:

Wou’d he save Cato? Bid him spare his Country.

Tell your Dictator this: and tell him, Cato

Disdain’s a Life, which he has Power to offer.

Dec. Rome and Her Senators submit to Caesar;

Her Gen’rals and her Counsuls are no more,

Who check’d his Conquests, and denied his Triumphs.


[Page 43]

Why will not Cato be this Caesar’s Friend?

Cato. Those very Reasons, thou hast urged, forbid it.

Dec. Cato, I’ve Orders to Expostulate,

And Reason with you, as from Friend to Friend:

Think on the Storm that gathers o’er your Head,

And threatens ev’ry Hour to burst upon it;

Still may you stand high in your Country’s Honours,

Do but comply, and make your Peace with Caesar.

Rome will rejoice, and cast its Eyes on Cato,

As on the Second of Mankind.

Cato. No more!

I must not think of Life on such Conditions.

Dec. Caesar is well acquainted with your Virtues,

And therefore sets this Value on your Life:

Let him but know the Price of Cato’s Friendship,

And name your Terms.

Cato. Bid him disband his Legions,

Restore the Common-wealth to Liberty,

Submit his Actions to the Publick Censure,

And stand the Judgment of a Roman Senate.

Bid him do this, and Cato is his Friend.

Dec. Cato, the World talk’s loudly of your Wisdom—

Cato. Nay more, tho’ Caro’s Voice was ne’er employ’d

To clear the Guilty, and to varnish Crimes,

My self will mount the Rostrum in his Favour,

And strive to gain his Pardon from the People.

Dec. A  Stile, like this, become’s a Conqueror.

Cato. Decius, a Stile, like this, become’s a Roman.

Dec. What is a Roman, that is Caesar’s Foe?

Cato. Greater than Caesar: he’s a Friend to Virtue.


[Page 44]

Dec. Consider, Cato, you’re in Utica,

And at the Head of your own little Senate;

You don’t now thunder in the Capitol,

With all the Mouths of Rome to second you.

Cato. Let Him consider That, who drives us hither:

‘Tis Caesar’s Sword has made Rome’s Senate Little,

And thinn’d its Ranks.   Alas, thy dazzled Eye

Behold’s this Man in a false Glaring Light,

Which Conquest and Success have thrown upon him;

Didst thou but view him right, thou’dst see him black

With Murder, Treason, Sacrilege, and Crimes,

That strike my Soul with Horror but to name ‘em.

I know thou look’st on me, as on a Wretch

Beset with Ills, and cover’d with Misfortunes;

But, by the Gods I swear, Millions of Worlds

Shou’d never buy me to be like that Caesar.

Dec. Do’s Cato send this Answer back to Caesar

For all his gen’rous Cares, and proffer’d Friendship?

Cato. His Cares for me are insolent and vain:

Presumptuous Man! The Gods take Care of Cato.

Wou’d Caesar show the Greatness of his Soul?

[Bi]d him employ his Care for these my Friends,

And make good use of his ill-gotten Pow’r,

By sheltering Men much better than himself.

Dec. Your high unconquer’d Heart makes you forget

You are a Man.  You rush on your Destruction.

[Unclear] I have done.  When I relate hereafter

The Tale of this unhappy Embassie,

[Unclear] Rome will be in Tears.

[Exit Decius.


[Page 45]




Sempronius, Lucius, Cato.


Semp. Cato, we thank thee.

The mighty Genius of Immortal Rome

Speaks in thy Voice, thy Soul breathes liberty:

Caesar will shrink to hear the Words thou utter’st,

And shudder in the midst of all his conquests.

Luc. The Senate ownes its Gratitude to Cato

Who with so great a Soul consults its Safety,

And guards our Lives, while he neglects his own.

Semp  Sempronius gives no Thanks on this Account.

Lucius seems fond of Life; but what is Life?

‘Tis not to stalk about, and draw fresh Air

From time to time, or gaze upon the Sun;

‘Tis to be Free.  When Liberty is gone,

Life grows insipid, and has lost its Relish.

O cou’d my dying Hand but lodge a Sword

In Caesar’s Bosom, and revenge my Country,

By Heav’ns I cou’d Enjoy the Pangs of Death,

And Smile in Agony.

Luc. Others perhaps

May serve their Country with as warm a Zeal,

Tho ‘tis not kindled into so much Rage.

Semp. This Sober conduct is a mighty Virtue

In luke-warm Patriots.

Cato. Come! no more, Sempronius,

All here are Friends to Rome, and to each other.

Let us not weaken still the weaker Side,

By our Divisions.


[Page 46]

Semp. Cato, my Resentments

Are sacrificed to Rome—I stand reproved.

Cato. Fathers, ‘tis time you come to a Resolve.

Luc. Cato, we all go into your Opinion.

Caesar’s Behaviour has convinced the Senate

We ought to hold it out till Terms arrive.

Semp. We ought to hold it out till Death; but, Cato,

My private Voice is drown’d amid the Senate’s.

Cato. Then let us rise, my Friends, and strive to fill

This little Interval, this Pause of Life,

(While yet our Liberty and Fates are doubtful)

With Resolution, Friendship, Roman Brav’ry,

And all the Virtues we can crowd into it;

That Heav’n may say, it ought to be prolong’d.

Fathers, farewel—The young Numidian Prince

Comes forward, and expects to know our Councils.

[Exuent Senators.




Cato, Juba.


Cato. Juba, the Roman Senate has resolv’d.

Till Time give better Prospects, still to keep

The Sword unsheath’d, and turn its Edge on Caesar.

Jub. The Resolution fits a Roman Senate.

But, Cato, lend me for a while thy Patience,

And condescend to hear a young Man speak.

My Father, when some Days before his Death

He order’d me to march for Utica

(Alas, I thought not then his Death so near’)


[Page 47]

Wept o’er me, prest me in his aged Arms,

And, as his G[ri]efs gave way, My Son, said he, 

Whatever Fortune shall befall thy Father,

Be Cato’s Friend; he’ll train thee up to Great

And Virtuous Deeds: Do but observe him well,

Thou’lt Shun Misfortunes, or thou’lt learn to Bear ‘em.

Cato. Juba, they Father was a worthy Prince,

And merited, alas! a better Fate;

But Heav’n thought otherwise.

Jub. My Father’s Fate,

In spight of all the Fortitude, that shines

Before my Face, in Cato’s great Example,

Subdues my Soul, and fills my Eyes with Tears.

Cato. It is an Honest Sorrow, and becomes thee.

Jub. My Father drew Respect from foreign Climes:

The Kings of Africk sought him for their Friend;

Kings far remote, that rule, as Fame report’s,

Behind the hidden Sources of the Nile

In distant Worlds, on t’other side the Sun:

Oft have their black Ambassadors appeared,

Loaden with Gifts, and fill’d the Courts of Zama.

Cato. I am no Stranger to thy Father’s Greatness.

Jub. I would not boast the Greatness of my Father,

But point out new Alliances to Cato.

Had we not better leave this Utica,

To arm Numibia in our Cause, and court

Th’ Assistance of my Father’s pow’rful Friends?

Did they know Cato, our remotest Kings

Wou’d pour embattled Multitudes about him;

Their swarthy Hosts wou’d Darken all our Pains,


[Page 48]

Doubling the native Horrour of the War,

And making Death more grim.

Cato. And canst thou think

Cato will Fly before the Sword of Caesar?

Reduced like Hannibal, to seek Relief

From Court to Court, and wander up and down,

A Vagabond in Africk!

Jub. Cato, perhaps

I’m too officious but my forward Cares

Wou’d fain preserve a Life of so much Value.

My Heart is wounded, when I see such Virtue

Afflicted by the Weight of such Misfortunes.

Cato. Thy Nobleness of Soul obliges me.

But know, young Prince, that Valour soars above

What the World calls Misfortune and Affliction.

These are not Ills; else wou’d they never fall

On Heav’ns first Fav’rites, and the best of Men:

The Gods, in Bounty, work up Storms about us,

That give Mankind Occasion to exert

Their hidden Strength, and throw out into Practice

Virtues, which shun the Day, and lie conceal’d

In the smooth Seasons, and the Calms of Life.

Jub. I’m charm’d when e’er thou talk’st! I pant for Virtue!

And all my Soul endeavours at Perfection.

Cato. Dost thou love Watchings, Abstinence, and Toil,

Laborious Virtues all? Learn them from Cato:

Success and Fortune must thou learn from Caesar.

Jub. The best good Fortune that can fall on Juba,

The whole Success, at which my Heart aspires,


[Page 49]

Depends on Cato.

Cato. What does Juba say?

Thy Words confound me.

Jub. I would fain retract them.

Give ‘em me back again.  They aim’d at nothing.

Cato. Tell me thy Wish, young Prince; make not my Ear

A Stranger to thy Thoughts.

Jub. Oh they’re extravagant;

Still let me hide them.

Cato. What can Juba ask

That Cato will reuse!

Jub. I fear to name it.

Marcia—inherits all her Father’s Virtues.

Cato. What wou’dst thou say?

Jub. Cato, thou hast a Daughter.

Cato. Adieu, young Prince: I wou’d not hear a Word

Shou’d lessen thee in my Esteem: Remember

The Hand of Fate is over us, and Heav’n

Exact’s Severity from all our Thoughts:

It is not now a Time to talk of aught

But Chains, or Conquest; Liberty, or Death.





Syphax, Juba.


Syph. How’s this, my Prince! What, cover’d with Confusion?

You look as if yon stern Philosopher

Had just now Chid you.


[Page 50]

Jub. Syphax, I’m undone!

Syph. I know it well.

Jub. Cato thinks meanly of me.

Syph. And so will all Mankind.

Jub. I’ve open’d to him

The Weakness of my Soul, my Love for Marcia.

Syph. Cato’s a proper Person to entrust

A Love-Tale with.

Jub. Oh, I could pierce my Heart,

My foolish Heart! Was ever Wretch like Juba?

Syph. Alas, my Prince how are you changed of late!

I’ve known young Juba rise, before the Sun,

To beat the Thicket where the Tyger slept,

Or seek the Lion in his dreadful Haunts:

How did the Colour mount into your Cheeks,

When first you roused him to the Chace! I’ve seen you,

Ev’n in the Lybian Dog days, hunt him down,

Then charge him close, provoke him to the Rage

Of Fangs and Claws, and stooping from your Horse

Rivet the panting Savage to the Ground.

Jub. Prithee, no more!

Syph. How wou’d the old King smile

To see you weigh the Paws, when tipp’d with Gold,

And throw the shaggy Spoils about your Shoulders!

Jub. Syphax, this old-Man’s Talk (tho’ Honey flow’d

In ev’ry Word) wou’d now lose all its Sweetness.

Cato’s displeas’d, and Marcia lost for ever!

Syph. Young Prince, I yet cou’d give you good Advice.

Marcia might still be Yours.

Jub. What say’st thou, Syphax?


[Page 51]

By Heav’ns, thou turn’st me all into Attention.

Syph. Marcia might still be Yours.

Jub. As how, Dear Syphax?

Syph. Juba command’s Numidia’s hardy Troops,

Mounted on Steeds, unused to the Restraint

Of Curbs or Bittes, and fleeter than the Winds:

Give but the Word, we’ll snatch this Damsel up,

And bear her off.

Jub. Can such dishonest Thoughts

Rise up in Man! wou’dst thou seduce my Youth

To do an Act that wou’d destroy my Honour?

Syph. Gods, I cou’d tear my Beard to hear you talk?

Honour’s a fine imaginary Notion,

That draws in raw and inexperienced Men

To real Mischiefs, while they hunt a Shadow.

Jub. Wou’dst thou degrade thy Prince into a Russian?

Syph. The boasted Ancestors of these great Men,

Whose Virtues you admire, were all such Russians.

This dread of Nations, this Almighty Rome,

That comprehends in her wide Empire’s Bounds

All under Heav’n, was founded on a Rape.

Your Scipio’s, Caesar’s, Pompey’s, and your Cato’s,

(These Gods on Earth) are all the spurious Brood

Of violated Maids, of ravish’d Sabines.

Jub. Syphax, I fear that hoary Head of thine

Abounds too much in our Numidian Wiles.

Syph. Indeed my Prince, you want to know the World,

You have not read Mankind, your Youth admires

The Throws and Swellings of a Roman Soul,

Cato’s bold Flights, th’ Extravagance of Virtue


[Page 52]

Jub. If Knowledge of the World makes Man persidious,

May Juba ever live in Ignorance!

Syph. Go, go, you’re Young.

Jub. Gods, must I tamely bear

This Arrogance unanswer’d! Thou’rt a Traitor,

A false old Traitor.

Syph. I have gone too far. [Aside.

Jub. Cato shall know the Baseness of thy Soul.

Syph. I must appease this Storm, or perish in it. [Aside.

Young Prince, behold these Locks, that are grown white 

Beneath a Helmet in your Father’s Battels.

Jub. Those Locks shall ne’er protect thy Insolence.

Syph. Must one rash Word, th’ Infirmity of Age,

Throw down the Merit of my better Years?

This the Reward of a whole Life of Service!

—Curse on the Boy! How steadily he hears me! [Aside.

Jub. Is it because the Throne of my Fore-fathers

Still stands unfill’d, and that Numidia’s Crown

Hangs doubtful yet, whose Head it shall enclose,

Thou thus presumest to treat thy Prince with Scorn?

Syph. Why will you rive  my Heart with such Expressions?

Do’s not old Syphax follow you to War?

What are his Aims? Why do’s he load with Darts

His trembling Hand, and crush beneath a Cask

His wrinkled Brows? What is it he aspires to?

Is it not this? to shed the slow Remains,

His last poor Ebb of Blood, in your Defence?

Jub. Syphax, no more! I wou’d not hear you talk.

Syph. Not hear me talk! What, when my Faith to Juba;


[Page 53]

My royal Master’s Son, is call’d in question?

My Prince may strike me dead, and I’ll be dumb:

But whilst I live I must not hold my Tongue,

And languish out old Age in his Displeasure.

Jub. Thou know’st the Way too well into my Heart,

I do believe thee loyal to thy Prince.

Syph. What greater Instance can I give? I’ve offer’d

To do an Action, which my Soul abhors,

And gain you whom you love at any Price.

Jub. Was This thy Motive? I have been too hasty.

Syph. And ‘tis for This my Prince has call’d me Traitor.

Jub. Sure thou mistakest; I did not call thee so.

Syph. You did indeed, my Prince, you call’d me Traitor:

Nay, further, threaten’d you’d complain to Cato.

Of what, my Prince, wou’d you complain to Cato?

That Syphax Loves you, and wou’d sacrifice

His Life, nay more, his Honour in your Service.

Jub. Syphax, I know thou lov’st me, but indeed

Thy Zeal for Juba carried thee too far.

Honour’s a sacred Tie, the Law of Kings,

The noble Mind’s distinguishing Perfection,

That aid’s and strengthens Virtue, where it meets her,

And Imitates her Actions, where she is not:

It ought not to be sported with.

Syph. By Heav’ns

I’m ravisht when you talk thus, tho’ you chide me!

Alas, I’ve hitherto been used to think

A blind officious Zeal to serve my King

The ruling Principle, that ought to burn

And quench all others in a Subject’s Heart.


[Page 54]

Happy the People, who preserved their Honour

Byu the same Duties, that oblige their Prince!

Jub. Syphax, thou now begin’st to speak thy self.

Numidia’s grown a Scorn among the Nations

For Breach of publick Vows.  Our Punick Faith

Is infamous, and branded to a Proverb.

Syphax, we’ll join our Cares, to purge away

Our Country’s Crimes, and clear her Reputation.

Syph. Believe me, Prince, you make old Syphax weep

To hear you talk—but ‘tis with Tears of Joy.

If e’re your Father’s Crown adorn your Brows,

Numidia will be blest by Cato’s Lectures.

Jub. Syphax, thy Hand! we’ll mutually forget

The Warmth of Youth, and Frowardness of Age:

Thy Prince esteems thy Worth, and loves thy Person,

If e’re the Scepter comes into my Hand,

Syphax shall stand the second in my Kingdom.

Syph. Why will you overwhelm my Age with Kindness?

My Joy grows burdensome, I sha’n’t support it.

Jub. Syphax, farewell.   I’ll hence, and try to find

Some blest Occasion that may set me right

In Cato’s Thoughts.   I’d rather have that Man

Approve my Deeds, than Worlds for my Admirers.



Syphax solus.

Young Men soon give, and soon forget Affronts; 

Old Age is slow in Both—A false old Traitor!

Those Words, rash Boy, may chance to cost thee dear:

My Heart had still some foolish Fondness for thee:

But hence! ‘Tis gone: I give it to the Winds:—

Caesar, I’m wholly Thine—


[Page 55]




Syphax, Sempronius.


Syph. All hail, Sempronius!

Well, Cato’s Senate is resolv’d to wait

The Fury of a Siege, before it yields.

Semp. Syphax, we both were on the Verge of Fate:

Lucius declared for Peace, and Terms were offer’d

To Cato by a Messenger from Caesar.

Shou’d they submit, ere our Designs are ripe,

We both must perish in the common Wreck,

Lost in a gen’ral Undistinguisht Ruin.

Syph. But how stands Cato?

Semp. Thou hast seen Mount Atlas:

While Storms and Tempests thunder on its Brows,

And Oceans break their Billows at its Feet,

It stands unmoved, and glories in its Height.

Such is that haughty Man; his tow’ring Soul,

‘Midst all the Shocks and Injuries of Fortune,

Rises superior, and looks down on Caesar.

Syph. But what’s this Messenger?

Semp. I’ve practis’d with him,

And found a Means to let the Victor know

That Syphax and Sempronius are his Friends.

But let me now examine in my Turn:

Is Juba fixt?

Syph. Yes,—but it is to Cato.

I’ve try’d the Force of ev’ry Reason on him,

Sooth’d and caress’d, been angry, sooth’d again,


[Page 56]

Lay’d Safety, Life, and Int’rest in his Sight,

But all are vain, he scorns them all for Cato.

Semp. Come, ‘tis no Matter, we shall do without him.

He’ll make a pretty Figure in a Triumph,

And serve to trip before the Victor’s Chariot.

Syphax, I now may hope thou hast forsook

Thy Juba’s Cause, and wishest Marcia mine.

Syph. May she be thine as fast as thou wou’dst have her!

Semp. Syphax, I love that Woman; tho’ I curse

Her and my self, yet spight of me, I love her.

Syph. Make Cato sure, and give up Utica,

Caesar will ne’er refuse thee such a Trifle.

But are thy Troops prepared for a Revolt?

Do’s the Sedition Catch from Man to Man,

And Run among their Ranks?

Semp. All, all is ready.

The factious Leaders are our Friends, that spread

Murmurs and Discontents among the Soldiers.

They count their toilsome Marches, long Fatigues,

Unusual Fastings, and will bear no more

This Medly of Philosophy and War.

Within an Hour they’ll storm the Senate-House.

Syph. Mean while I’ll draw up my Numidian Troops

Within the Square, to exercise their Arms,

And, as I see Occasion, favour thee.

I laugh to think how your unshaken Cato

Will look aghast, while unforeseen Destruction

Pou’rs in upon him thus from every Side.

So, where our wide Numidian Wastes extend,

Sudden, th’ impetuous Hurricanes descend,


[Page 57]

Wheel through the Air, in circling Eddies play,

Tear up the Sands, and sweep whole Plains away.

The helpless Traveller, with wild Surprize,

Sees the dry Desart all around him rise,

And, smother’d in the dusty Whirlwind Dies.



End of the Second Act.


[Page 58]




Marcus and Portius.




THANKS to my Stars, I have not ranged about

The Wilds of Life, ere I could find a Friend; 

Nature first pointed out my Portius to me, 

And Early taught me, by her secret Force,

To love thy Person, ere I knew thy Merit;

Till, what was Instinct, grew up into Friendship.

Port. Marcus, the Friendships of the World are oft

Confed’racies in Vice, or Leagues of Pleasure;

Ours has severest Virtue for its Basis,

And such a Friendship end’s not but with Life.

Marc. Portius, thou know’st my Soul in all its Weakness;

Then prithee spare me on its tender Side,

Indulge me but in Love, my other Passions

Shall rise and fall by Virtue’s nicest Rules.

Port. When Love’s well-timed, ‘tis not a Fault to love.

The Strong, the Brave, the Virtuous, and the Wise,

Sink in the soft Captivity together.

I wou’d not urge thee to dismiss thy Passion,


[Page 59]

(I know ‘twere vain) but to suppress its Force,

Till better Times may make it look more graceful.

Marc. Alas! thou talk’st like one who never felt

Th’ impatient Throbbs and Longings of a Soul,

That pants, and reaches after distant Good.

A Lover dos not live by vulgar Time:

Believe me, Portius, in my Lucia’s Absence

Life Hangs upon me, and becomes a Burden;

And yet, when I Behold the charming Maid,

I’m ten-times more undone; while Hope, and Fear,

And Grief, and Rage, and Love, rise up at once,

And with Variety of Pain distract me.

Port. What can thy Portius do to give thee Help?

Marc. Portius, thou oft enjoy’st the Fair One’s Presence:

Then undertake my Cause, and plead it to her

With all the Strength and Heats of Eloquence

Fraternal Love and Friendship can inspire.

Tell her thy Brother languishes to Death,

And fades away, and withers in his Bloom;

That he forgets his Sleep, and loathe his Food,

That Youth, and Health, and War are joyless to him:

Describe his anxious Days, and restless Nights,

And all the Torments that thou seest me suffer.

Port. Marcus, I beg thee give me not an Office,

That suits with me so ill.  Thou knowst my Temper.

Marc. Wilt thou behold me sinking in my Woes?

And wilt thou not reach out a friendly Arm,

To raise me from amidst this Plunge of Sorrows?

Port. Marcus, thou canst not ask what I’d refuse.

But here believe me I’ve a thousand Reasons—


[Page 60]

Marc. I know thoult say my Passion’s out of Season,

That Cato’s great Example and Misfortunes

Should Both conspire to drive it from my Thoughts.

But what’s all this to one who loves like me!

Oh Portius, Portius, from my Soul I wish

Thou didst but know thy self what ‘tis to love!

Then woudst thou pity and assist thy Brother.

Port. What should I do! If I disclose my Passion

Our Friendship’s at an end: If I conceal it,

The World will call me false to a Friend and Brother.


Marc. But see where Lucia, at her wonted Hour,

Amid the Cool of yon high Marble Arch,

Enjoys the Noon-day Breeze! Observe her, Portius!

That Face, that Shape, those Eyes, that Heav’n of Beauty!

Observe her well, and blame me if though can’st.

Port. She sees us, and advances—

Marc. I’ll withdraw,

And leave you for a while.  Remember, Portius,

Thy Brother’s Life depends upon thy Tongue. 





Lucia, Portius.


Luc. Did not I see your Brother Marcus here?

Why did he fly the Place, and shun my Presence?

Port. Oh, Lucia, Language is too faint to show

His Rage of Love; it preys upon his Life;

He pines, he sickens, he despairs, he dies:

His Passions and his Virtues lie confused,


[Page 61]

And mixt together in so wild a Tumult,

That the whole Man is quite disfigur’d in him.

Heav’ns! wou’d one think ‘twere possible for Love

To make such Ravage in a noble Soul!

Oh, Lucia, I’m distress’d! my Heart bleeds for him;

Ev’n now, while thus I stand blest in thy Presence,

A secret Damp of Grief comes o’er my Thoughts,

And I’m unhappy, tho’ thou smilest upon me.

Luc. How wilt thou guard thy Honour, in the Shock

Of Love and Friendship! think betimes, my Portius,

Think how the Nuptial Tie, that might ensure

Our mutual Bliss, wou’d raise to such a Height

Thy Brother’s Griefs, as might perhaps destroy him.

Port. Alas, poor Youth! what dost thou think, my Lucia?

His gen’rous, open, undesigning Heart

Has beg’d his Rival to sollicit for him.

Then do not strike him dead with a Denial,

But hold him up in Life, and cheer his Soul

With the faint glimm’ring of a doubtful Hope:

Perhaps, when we have pass’d these gloomy Hours,

And weather’d out the Storm that beats upon us—

Luc. No, Portius, no! I see thy Sister’s Tears,

Thy Father’s Anguish, and thy Brother’s Death,

In the Pursuit of our ill-fated Loves.

And, Portius, here I swear, to Heav’n I swear,

To Heav’n, and all the Pow’rs that judge Mankind,

Never to mix my plighted Hands with thine,

While such a Cloud of Mischiefs hangs about us.

But to forget our Loves, and drive thee out

From all my Thoughts, as far—as I am able.


[Page 62]

Port. What hast thou said! I’m thunder-struck!—Recall

Those hasty Words, or I am lost for ever.

Luc. Has not the Vow already pass’d my Lips?

The Gods have heard it, and ‘tis seal’d in Heav’n.

May all the Vengeance, that was ever pour’d

On perjur’d Heads, o’erwhelm me, if I break!

[After a Pause,

Port. Fixt in Astonishment, I gaze upon thee;

Like one just blasted by a Stroak from Heav’n,

Who pants for Breath, and stiffens, yet alive,

In dreadful Looks: A Monument of Wrath!

Luc. At length I’ve acted my severest Part,

I feel the Woman breaking in upon me,

And melt about my Heart! my Tears will flow.

But oh I’ll think no more! the Hand of Fate

Has torn thee from me, and I must forget thee.

Port. Hard-hearted, cruel Maid!

Luc. Oh stop those Sounds,

Those killing Sounds! Why dost thou frown upon me?

My Blood runs cold, my Heart forgets to heave,

And Life its self goes out at thy Displeasure.

The Gods forbid us to indulge our Loves,

But oh! I cannot bear thy Hate and live!

Port. Talk not of Love, thou never knew’st its Force.

I’ve been deluded, led into a Dream

Of fancied Bliss. O Lucia, cruel Maid!

Thy dreadful Vow, loaden with Death, still sound’s

In my stunn’d Ears.  What shall I say or do?

Quick, let us part! Perdition’s in they Presence,


[Page 63]

And Horror dwells about thee!—Hah, she faints!

Wretch that I am! what has my Rashness done!

Lucia, thou injur’d Innocence! thou best

And lovely’st of thy Sex! awake, my Lucia,

Or Portius rushes on his Sword to join thee.

—Her Imprecations reach not to the Tomb,

They shut not out Society in Death—

But Hah! She moves! Life wander’s up and down

Through all her Face, and Light’s up ev’ry Charm.

Luc. O Portius, was this well!—to frown on Her

That lives upon thy Smiles! to call in Doubt

The Faith of one expiring at thy Feet,

That love’s thee more than ever Woman lov’d!

—What do I say? My half-recover’d Sense

Forgets the Vow in which my Soul is bound.

Destruction stands betwixt us!  We must part.

Port. Name not the Word, my frighted Thoughts run back,

And startle into Madness at the Sound.

Luc. What wou’dst thou have me do? Consider well

The Train of Ills our Love wou’d draw behind it.

Think, Portius, think, thou see’st thy dying Brother

Stabb’d at his Heart, and all besmear’d with Blood,

Storming at Heav’n and thee! Thy awful Sire

Sternly demands the Cause, th’ accursed Cause,

That robbs him of his Son! poor Marcia trembles,

Then tear’s her Hair, and frantick in her Griefs

Calls out on Lucia! What cou’d Lucia answer?

Or how stand up in such a Scene of Sorrow!


[Page 64]

Port. To my Confusion, and Eternal Grief,

I must approve the Sentence that destroys me.

The Mist, that hung about my Mind, clears up;

And now, athwart the Terrors that thy Vow

Has planted round thee, thou appear’st more fair,

More amiable, and risest in thy Charms.

Lovely’st of Women! Heav’n is in thy Soul,

Beauty and Virtue shine for ever round thee,

Bright’ning each other! Thou art all Divine!

Luc. Portius, no more! thy Words shoot thro’ my Heart,

Melt my Resolves, and turn me all to Love.

Why are those Tears of Fondness in thy Eyes?

Why heaves thy Heart? Why swells thy Soul with Sorrow?

It softens me too much—Farewell, my Portius,

Farewell, tho’ Death is in the Word, For-ever!

Port. Stay, Lucia, stay! What do’st thou say? For-ever?

Luc. Have I not sworn? If, Portius, thy Success

Must throw thy Brother on his Fate, Farewell,

Oh, how shall I repeat the Word! For-ever!

Port. Thus o’er the dying Lamp th’unsteady Flame

Hangs quiv’ring on a Point, leaps off by Fits,

And falls again, as loath to quit its Hold.

—Thou must not go, my Soul still hovers o’er thee

And can’t get loose.

Luc. If the firm Portius shake

To hear of Parting, think what Lucia suffers!

Port. ‘Tis true; unruffled and serene I’ve met

The common Accidents of Life, but here

[S]uch an unlook’d-for Storm of Ills falls on me,


[Page 65]

It beats down all my Strength. I cannot bear it.

We must not part.

Luc. What do’st thou say? Not part?

Hast thou forgot the Vow that I have made?

Are there not Heav’ns, and Gods, and Thurnder, o’er us!

—But see! thy Brother Marcus bend’s this way!

I sicken at the Sight.   Once more, Farewell,

Farewell, and know thou wrong’st me, if thou think’st

Ever was Love, or ever Grief, like mine.





Marcus, Portius.


Marc. Portius, what Hopes? how stands She?  Am I doom’d

To Life or Death?

Port. What wou’dst thou have me say?

Marc. What means this pensive Posture? Thou appear’st 

Like one amazed and terrified.

Port. I’ve Reason.

Marc. Thy down-cast Looks, and thy disorder’d Thoughts

Tell me my Fate. I ask not the Success

My Cause has found.

Port. I’m grief’d I undertook it.

Mar. What? do’s the barb’rous Maid insult my Heart,

My akeing Heart! and triumph in my Pains?

That I cou’d cast her from my Thoughts for ever!

Port. Away! you’re too suspicious in your Griefs;

Lucia, though sworn never to think of Love,

Compassionates your Pains, and pities you.


[Page 66]

Marc. Compassionates my Pains, and pities me!

What is Compassion when ‘tis void of Love!

Fool that I was to chuse so cold a Friend

To urge my Cause! Compassionates my Pains!

Prithee what ARt, what Rhet’rick did’st thou use

To gain this mighty Boon? She Pities me!

To one that asks the warm Returns of Love,

Compassion’s Cruelty, ‘tis Scorn, ‘tis Death—

Port. Marcus, no more! have I deserved this Treatment?

Marc. What have I said! O Portius, O forgive me!

A Soul exasp’rated in Ills falls out

With ev’ry thing, its Friend, its self—But hah!

What means that Shout, big with the Sounds of War?

What new Alarm?

Port. A second, louder yet,

Swells in the Winds, and comes more Full upon us.

Marc. Oh, for some glorious Cause to fall in Battel!

Lucia, thou hast undone me! thy Disdain

Has broke my Heart: ‘tis Death must give me Ease.

Port. Quick, let us hence; who knows if Cato’s Life

Stands sure? O Marcus, I am worm’d, my Heart

Leaps at the Trumpet’s Voice, and burns for Glory.





Enter Sempronius with the Leaders of the Mutiny.


Semp. At length the Winds are rais’d, the Storm blows high,

Be it your Care, my Friends, to keep it up


[Page 67]

In its full Fury, and direct its right,

‘Till it has spent it self on Cato’s Head.

Mean while I’ll herd among his Friends, and seem

One of the Number, that whate’er arrive,

My Friends and Fellow-Soldiers may be safe.


1 Lead. We are all safe, Sempronius is our Friend,

Sempronius is as brave a Man as Cato.

But heark! he Enters.  Bear up boldly to him;

Be sure you beat him down, and bind him fast:

This Day will end our Toils, and give us Rest;

Fear nothing, for Sempronius is our Friend.




Enter Cato, Sempronius, Lucius, Portius, and Marcus.


Cato. What are these bold intrepid Sons of War,

That greatly turn their Backs upon the Foe,

And to their General send a brave Defiance?

Semp. Curse on their Dastard Souls, they stand astonish’d! [Aside.

Cato. Peridious Men! and will you thus dishonour

Your past Exploits, and fully all your Wars?

Do you confess ‘twas not a Zeal for Rome,

Nor Love of Liberty, not Thirst of Honour,

Drew you thus far; but Hopes to share the Spoil

Of conquer’d Towns, and plunder’d Provinces?

Fired with such Motives you do well to join

With Cato’s Foes, and follow Caesar’s Banners.


[Page 68]

Why did I ‘scape th’ invenom’d Aspic’s Rage,

And all the fiery Monsters of the Desart,

To see this Day? Why cou’d not Cato fall

Without your Guilt? Beyond, ungrateful Men,

Behold my Bosom naked to your Swords,

And let the Man that’s injured strike the Blow.

Which of you all suspects that he is wrong’d,

Or thinks he suffers greater Ills than Cato?

Am I distinguish’d from you but by Toils,

Superior Toils, and heavier Weight of Cares!

Painful Pre-eminence!

Semp. By Heav’ns they droop!

Confusion to the Villains! All is lost. [Aside.

Cato. Have you forgotten Lybia’s burning Waste,

Its barren Rocks, parch’d Earth, and Hills of Sand,

Its tainted Air, and all its Broods of Poison?

Who was the first to explore th’ untrodden Path,

When Life was hazarded in ev’ry Step?

Or, fainting in the long laborious March,

When on the Banks of an unlook’d-for Stream

You sunk the River with repeated Draughts,

Who was the last in all your Host that thirsted?

Semp. If some penurious Source by chance appear’d,

Scanty of Waters, when you scoop’d it dry,

And offer’d the full Helmet up to Cato,

Did he not dash th’ untasted Moisture from him?

Did not he lead you through the Mid-day Sun,

And Clouds of Dust? Did not his Temples glow

In the same sultry Winds, and scorching Heats?


[Page 69]

Cato. Hence worthless Men! Hence! and complain to Caesar

You could no undergo the Toils of War,

Nor bear the Hardships that your Leader bore.

Luc. See, Cato, see th’ unhappy Men! they weep!

Fear, and Remores, and Sorrow for their Crime,

Appear in ev’ry Look, and plead for Mercy.

Cato. Learn to be honest Men, give up your Leaders,

And Pardon shall descend on all the rest.

Semp. Cato, commit these Wretches to my Care.

First let ‘em each be broken on the Rack,

Then, with what Life remains, impaled, and left

To writhe at leisure round the bloody Stake.

There let ‘em hang, and taint the Southern Wind.

The Partners of their Crime will learn Obedience,

When they look up and see their Fellow-Traitors

Stuck on a Fork, and black’ning in the Sun.

Luc. Sempronius, why, why wilt thou urge the Fate

Of wretched Men?

Semp. How! wou’dst thou clear Rebellion!

Lucius, (good Man) pities the poor Offenders

That wou’d imbrue their Hands in Cato’s Blood.

Cato. Forbear, Sempronius!—See they suffer Death,

But in their Deaths remember they are Men.

Strain not the Laws to make their Tortures grievous.

Lucius, the base degen’rate Age requires

Severity, and Justice in its Rigour;

This awes an impious, bold, offending World,

Commands Obedience, and gives Force to LAws.

When by just Vengeance guilty Mortals perish,


[Page 70]

The Gods behold then Punishment with Pleasure,

And lay th’ uplifted Thunder-Bolt aside.

Semp. Cato, I execute thy Will with Pleasure.

Cato. Mean-while we’ll sacrifice to Liberty.

Remember, O my Friends, the Laws, the Rights, 

The gen’rous Plan of Power deliver’d down,

From Age to Age, by your renown’d Forefathers,

(So dearly bought, the Price of so much Blood)

O Let it never perish in your Hands!

But piously transmit it to your Children.

Do thou, great Liberty, inspire our Souls,

And make our Lives in thy Possession happy, 

Or our Deaths glorious in thy just Defence. 

[Exe. Cato, &c.




Sempronius and the Leaders of the Mutiny.


1 Lead. Sempronius, you have acted like your Self,

One wou’d have thought you had been half in Earnest.

Semp. Villain, stand off! base grov’ling worthless Wretches,

Mongrils in Faction, poor faint-hearted Traitors!

2 Lead. Nay, now you carry it too far, Sempronius

Throw off the Mask, there are none here but Friends.

Semp. Know, Villains, when such paltry Slaves presume

To mix in Treason, if the Plot succeeds,

They’re thrown neglected by: But if it fails,

They’re sure to die like Dogs, as you shall do.

Here, take these factious Monsters, dragg ‘em forth

To sudden Death.


[Page 71]

1 Lead. Nay, since it comes to this—

Semp. Dispatch ‘em quick, but first pluck out their Tongues,

Least with their dying Breath they sow Sedition.

[Exeunt Guards with the Leaders.




Syphax and Sempronius.


Syph. Our first Design, my Friend, has proved abortive;

Still there remains an After-game to play:

My Troops are mounted; their Numidian Steeds

Snuff up the Wind, and long to scow’r the Desart:

[L]et but Sempronius head us in our Flight,

We’ll force the Gate where Marcus keeps his Guard,

And hew down all that would oppose our Passage.

A Day will bring us into Caesar’s Camp.

Semp. Confusion! I have fail’d of half my Purpose.

Marcia, the charming Marcia’s left behind!

Syph. How? will Sempronius turn a Woman’s Slave!

Semp. Think not thy Friend can ever feel the soft

Unmanly Warmth, and Tenderness of Love.

Syphax, I long to clasp that haughty Maid,

And bend her stubborn Virtue to my Passion:

When I have gone thus far, I’d cast her off.


[Page 72]

Syph. Well said! that’s spoken like thy self, Sempronius.

What hinders then, but that thou find her out,

And hurry her away by manly Force?

Semp. But how to gain Admission? for Access

Is given to none but Juba, and her Brothers.

Syph. Thou shalt have Juba’s Dress, and Juba’s Guards:

The Doors will open, when Numidia’s Prince

Seems to appear before the Slaves, that watch them.

Semp. Heav’ns, what a Thought is there! Marcia’s my own!

How will my Bosom swell with anxious Joy,

When I behold her strugling in my Arms,

With glowing Beauty, and disorder’d Charms,

While Fear and Anger, with alternate Grace,

Pant in her Breast, and vary in her Face!

So Pluto, seiz’d of Proserpine, convey’d

To Hell’s tremendous Gloom th’ affrighted Maid,

There grimly smil’d, pleas’d with the beauteous Prize, 

Nor envy’d Jove his Sun-shine and his Skies.


End of the Third Act.


[Page 73]




Lucia and Marcia.



NOW tell me, Marcia, tell me from thy Soul,

If thou believ’st ‘tis possible for Woman

To suffer greater Ills than Lucia suffers?

Marc. O Lucia, Lucia, might my big-swoln Heart

Vent all its Griefs, and give a Loose to Sorrow:

Marcia cou’d answer thee in Sighs, keep Pace

With all thy Woes, and count out Tear for Tear.

Luc. I know thou’rt doom’d alike, to be belov’d

By Juba, and thy Father’s Friend Sempronius;

But which of these has Pow’r to charm like Portius!

Marc. Still must I beg thee not to name Sempronius?

Lucia, I like not that loud boist’rous Man:

Juba to all the Brav’ry of a Heroe

Adds softest Love, and more than Female Sweetness;

Juba might make the proudest of our Sex,

Any of Woman-kind, but Marcia, happy.

Luc. And why not Marcia? Come, you strive in vain

To hide your Thoughts from one, who knows too well

The inward Glowings of a Heart in Love.


[Page 74]

Marc. While Cato lives, his Daughter has no Right

To love or hate, but as his Choice directs.

Luc. But shou’d this Father give you to Sempronius?

Marc. I dare not think he will: But if he shou’d—

Why wilt thou add to all the Griefs I suffer

Imaginary Ills, and fancy’d Tortures?

I hear the Sound of Feet! they march this Way!

Let us retire, and try if we can drown

East softer Thought in Sense of present Danger.

When Love once pleads Admission to our Hearts

(In spight of all the Virtue we can boast)

The Woman that Deliberates is lost.





Enter Sempronius, dress’d like Juba, with Numidian Guards.


Semp. The Deer is lodg’d. I’ve trackt her to her Covert.

Be sure you mind the Word, and when I give it,

Rush in at once, and seize upon your Prey.

Let not her Cries or Tears have Force to move you.

—How will the young Numidian rave, to see

His Mistress lost? If aught cou’d glad my Soul,

Beyond th’ Enjoyment of so bright a Prize,

‘Twou’d be to torture that young gay Barbarian.

—But heark, what Noise! Death to my Hopes! ‘tis he,

‘Tis Juba’s self! there is but one Way left—

He must be murder’d, and a Passage cut

Through those his Guards.—Hah, Dastards, do you tremble!

Or act like Men, or by yon azure Heav’n—


[Page 75]

Jub. What do I see? Who’s this, that dares usurp

The Guards and Habit of Numidia’s Prince?

Semp. One that was born to scourge thy Arrogance,

Presumptuous Youth!

Jub. What can this mean? Sempronius!

Semp. My Sword shall answer thee. Have at thy Heart.

Jub. Nay, then beware thy own, proud, barbrous Man!

[Semp. falls.  His Guards surrender.

Semp. Curse on my Stars! Am I then doom’d to fall

By a Boy’s Hand? disfigur’d in a vile

Numidian Dress, and for a worthless Woman?

Gods, I’m Distracted! This my Close of Life!

O for a Peal of Thunder that wou’d make

Earth, Sea, and Air, and Heav’n, and Cato tremble!


Jud. With what a Spring his furious Soul broke loose,

And left the Limbs still quiv’ring on the Ground!

Hence let us carry off those Slaves to Cato,

That we may there at length unravel all

This dark Design, this Mystery of Fate.

[Exit Juba with Prisoners, &c.




Enter Lucia and Marcia.

Luc. Sure ‘twas the Clash of Swords; my troubled Heart


[Page 76]

Is so cast down, and sunk amidst its Sorrows,

It throbs with Fear, and akes at ev’ry Sound.

O Marcia, shou’d thy Brothers for my Sake!—

I die away with Horror at the Thought.

Marc. See, Lucia, see! here’s Blood! here’s Blood and Murder!

Hah! a Numidian! Heav’ns preserve the Prince:

The Face lies muffled up within the Garment.

But hah! Death to my Sight! A Diadem,

And Purple Robes! O Gods! ‘tis he, ‘tis he!

Juba, the loveliest Youth that ever warm’d

A Virgin’s Heart, Juba lies dead before us!

Luc. Now, Marcia, now call up to thy Assistance

Thy wonted Strength, and Constancy of Mind;

Thou can’st not put it to a greater Tryal.

Marc. Lucia, look there, and wonder at my Patience.

Have I not cause to rave, and beat my Breast,

To rend my Heart with Grief, and run distracted!

Luc. What can I think or say to give thee Comfort?

Mar. Talk not of Comfort, ‘tis for lighter Ills:

Behold a Sight, that Strike’s all Comfort dead.


Enter Juba listning.


I will indulge my Sorrows, and give way

To all the Pangs and Fury of Despair,

That Man, that best of Men, deserv’d it from me.

Jub. What do I hear? and was the false Sempronius

That best of Men? O had I fall’n like him,

And cou’d have thus been mourn’d, I had been happy!


[Page 77]

Luc. Here will I stand, Companion in thy Woes,

And help thee with my Tears; when I behold

A Loss like thine, I half forget my own.

Marc. ‘Tis not in Fate to ease my tortur’d Breast.

This empty World, to me a joyless Desart,

Has nothing left to make poor Marcia happy.

Jub. I’m on the Rack! Was he so near her Heart?

Marc. Oh he was all made up of Love and Charms,

Whatever Maid cou’d wish, or Man admire:

Delight of ev’ry Eye! When he appear’d,

A secret Pleasure gladned all that saw him;

But when he talk’d, the proudest Roman blush’d

To hear his Virtues, and old Age grew wise.

Jub. I shall run Mad—

Marc. O Juba! Juba! Juba!

Jub. What means that Voice? did she not call on Juba?

Mac. Why do I think on what he was! he’s dead!

He’s dead, and never knew how much I lov’d him.

Lucia, who knows but his poor bleeding Heart,

Amidst its Agonies, remember’d Marcia,

And the last Words he utter’d call’d me Cruel!

Alas, he knew not, hapless Youth, he knew not

Marcia’s whole Soul was full of Love and Juba!

Jub. Where am I! do I live! or am indeed

What Marcia thinks! all is Elisium round me!

Marc. Ye dear Remains of the most lov’d of Men!

Nor Modesty nor Virtue here forbid

A last Embrace, while thus—

Jub. See, Marcia, see, [Throwing himself before her.

The happy Juba lives! he lives to catch


[Page 78]

That dear Embrace, and to return it too

With mutual Warmth and Eagerness of Love.

Marc. With Pleasure and Amaze, I stand transported!

Sure ‘tis a Dream! Dead and Alive at once!

If thou art Juba, who lies there?

Jub. A Wretch,

Disguised like Juba on a curs’d Design.

The Tale is long, nor have I heard it out,

Thy Father knows it all.   I cou’d not bear

To leave thee in the Neighbourhood of Death,

But flew, in all the haste of Love, to find thee.

I found thee weeping, and confess this once,

Am wrapp’d with Joy to see my Marcia’s Tears.

Marc. I’ve been surprised in an unguarded Hour, 

But must not now go back: The Love, that lay

Half smother’d in my Breast, has broke through all

Its weak Restraints, and burns in its full Lustre,

I cannot, if I wou’d, conceal it from thee.

Jub. I’m lost in Extasie! and do’st thou Love

Thou charming Maid?

Marc. And do’st thou Live to ask it?

Jub. This, this is Life indeed! Life worth preserving!

Such Life as Juba never felt till now!

Marc. Believe me, Prince, before I thought thee dead,

I did not know my self how much I lov’d thee.

Jub. O fortunate Mistake!

Marc. O happy Marcia!

Jub. My Joy! my best Beloved! my only Wish!

How shall I speak the Transport of my Soul!


[Page 79]

Marc. Lucia, thy Arm! Oh let me rest upon it!—

The Vital Blood, that had forsook my Heart, 

Returns again in such tumultuous Tides,

It quite o’ercomes me.  Lead to my Apartment.—

O Prince! I blush to think what I have said,

But Fate has wrested the Confession from me;

Go on, and prosper in the Paths of Honour,

Thy Virtue will excuse my Passion for thee,

And make the Gods propitious to our Love.

[Ex. Marc. and Luc.

Jub. I am so bless’d, I fear ‘tis all a Dream.

Fortune, thou now hast made amends for all

Thy past Unkindness.   I absolve my Stars.

What tho’ Numidia add her conquer’d Towns

And Provinces to swell the Victor’s Triumph?

Juba will never at his Fate repine;

Let Caesar have the World, if Marcia’s mine.





A March at a Distance.


Enter Cato and Lucius.


Luc. I stand astonish’t! What, the bold Sempronius!

That still broke foremost through the Croud of Patriots,

As with a Hurricane of Zeal transported,

And virtuous ev’n to Madness—


[Page 80]

Cato. Trust me, Lucius,

Our civil Discords have produced such Crimes,

Such monstrous Crimes, I am surprized at nothing

—O Lucius, I am sick of this bad World!

The Day-light and the Sun grow painful to me.


Enter Portius.


But see where Portius comes! What means this Haste?

Why are thy Looks thus changed?

Port. My Heart is griev’d.

I bring such News as will afflict my Father.

Cato. Has Caesar shed more Roman Blood?

Port. Not so.

The Traytor Syphax, as within the Square

He exercised his Troops, the Signal given,

Flew off at once with his Numidian Horse

To the South Gate, where Marcus holds the Watch.

I saw, and call’d to stop him, but in vain,

He tost his Arm alost, and proudly told me,

He would not stay and perish like Sempronius.

Cato. Persidious Men! But haste my Sons, and see

Thy Brother Marcus acts a Roman’s Part [Exit Portius.

Lucius, the Torrent bears too hard upon me:

Justice give’s Way to Force: the conquer’d World

Is Caesar’s: Cato has no Business in it.

Luc. While Pride, Oppression, and Injustice reign,

The World will still demand her Cato’s Presence.

In Pity to Mankind, submit to Caesar

And reconcile thy Mighty Soul to Life.


[Page 81]

Cato. Would Lucius have me live to swell the Number

Of Caesar’s Slaves, or by a base Submission

Give up the Cause of Rome, and own a Tyrant?

Luc. The Victor never will impose on Cato

Ungen’rous Terms.  His Enemies confess

The Virtues of Humanity are Caesar’s.

Cato. Curse on his Virtues! They’ve undone his Country.

Such Popular Humanity is Treason—

But see young Juba! the good Youth appears

Full of the Guilt of his persidious Subjects.

Luc. Alas, poor Prince! his Fate deserves Compassion.


Enter Juba.


Jub. I blush, and am confounded to appear

Before thy Presence, Cato.

Cato. What’s thy Crime?

Jub. I’m a Numidian.

Cato. And a brave one too,

Thou hast a Roman Soul.

Jub. Hast thou not heard

Of my false Countrymen?

Cato. Alas, young Prince,

Falsehood and Fraud shoot up in ev’ry Soil,

The Product of all Climes—Rome has its Caesars.

Jub. ‘Tis gen’rous thus to comfort the Distress’d.

Cato. ‘Tis just to give Applause where ‘tis deserve’d;

Thy Virtue, Prince, has stood the Test of Fortune,

Like purest Gold, that, tortur’d in the Furnace,

Comes out more bright, and brings forth all its Weight.


[Page 82]

Jub. What shall I answer thee? my ravish’d Heart

O’erflows with secret Joy: I’d rather gain

Thy Praise, O Cato, than Numidia’s Empire.


Re-enter Portius.


Port. Misfortune on Misfortune! Grief on Grief!

My Brother Marcus

Cato. Hah! what has he done?

Has he forsook his Post? has he giv’n way?

Did he look tamely on, and let ‘em pass?

Port. Scarce had I left my Father, but I met him

Born on the Shields of his surviving Soldiers,

Breathless and pale, and cover’d o’er with Wounds.

Long, and the Head of his few faithful Friends,

He stood the Shock of a whole Host of Foes,

Till obstinately Brave, and bent on Death,

Opprest with Multitudes, he greatly fell.

Cato. I’m satisfy’d.

Port. Nor did he fall before

His Sword had pierc’d through the false Heart of Syphax:

Yonder he lies.   I saw the hoary Traytor

Grin in the Pangs of Death, and bite the Ground.

Cato. Thanks to the Gods! my Boy has done his Duty.

Portius[,] when I am dead, besure thou place

His Urne near mine.

Port. Long may they keep asunder!

Luc. O Cato, arm thy Soul with all its Patience;

See where the Corps of thy dead Son approaches!


[Page 83]

The Citizens and Senators, alarm’d,

Have gather’d round it, and attend it weeping.


Cato meeting the Corps.


Cato. Welcome my Son! Here lay him down, my friends,

Full in my Sight, that I may view at leisure

That bloody Coarse, and count those glorious Wounds.

—How beautiful is Death, when earn’d by Virtue!

Who would not be that Youth? what Pity is it

That we can die but Once to serve our Country!

—Why sits this Sadness on your Brows, my Friends?

I should have blush’d if Cato House had stood

Secure, and flourish’d in a Civil War.

Portius, behold thy Brother, and remember

Thy Life is not thy own, when Rome demands it.

Jub. Was ever Man like this! [Aside.

Cato. Alas my Friends!

Why mourn you thus? Let not a private Loss

Afflict your Hearts.   ‘Tis Rome requires our TEars.

The Mistress of the World, the Seat of Empire,

The Nurse of Heroes, the Delight of Gods,

That humbled the proud Tyrants of the Earth.

And set the Nations free, Rome is no more.

O Liberty! O Virtue! O my Country!

Juba. Behold that upright Man! Rome fills his Eyes

With Tears, that flow’d not o’er his own dead Son.



[Page 84]

Cato. Whate’er the Roman Virtue has subdu’d,

The Sun’s whole Course, the Day and Year, are Caesar’s.

For him the self-devoted Decii dy’d,

The Fabii fell, and the great Scipio’s conquer’d:

Ev’n Pompey fought for Caesar.  Oh my Friends!

How is the Toil of Fate, the Work of Ages,

The Roman Empire fall’n! O curst Ambition!

Fall’n into Caesar’s Hands! Our great Fore-Fathers

Had left him nought to Conquer but his Country.

Juba. While Cato lives, Caesar will blush to see

Mankind enslaved, and be ashamed of Empire.

Cato. Caesar ashamed! Has not he seen Pharsalia!

Luc. Cato, ‘tis Time thou save thy self and us.

Cato. Lose not a Thought on me. I’m out of Danger.

Heav’n will not leave me in the Victor’s Hand.

Caesar shall never say I conquer’d Cato.

But oh! my Friends, your Safety fills my Heart

With anxious Thoughts: A thousand secret Terrors,

Rise in my Soul: How shall I save my Friends!

‘Tis now, O Caesar, I begin to fear thee.

Luc. Caesar has Mercy, if we ask it of him.

Cato. Then ask it, I conjure you! let him know

Whate’er was done against him, Cato did it.

Add, if you please, that I request it of him,

That I my self, with Tears, request it of him,

The Virtue of my Friends may pass unpunish’d.

Juba, my Heart is troubled for thy Sake.

Should I advise thee to regain Numidia

Or seek the Conqueror?—


[Page 85]

Jub. If I forsake thee

Whilst I have Life, may Heav’n abandon Juba!

Cato. Thy Virtues, Prince, if I foresee aright,

Will one day make thee Great; at Rome, hereafter,

Twill be no Crime to have been Cato’s Friend.

Portius, draw near! My Son, thou oft hast seen

They Sire engaged in a corrupted State,

Wrestling with Vice and Faction: Now thou see’st me

Spent, overpow’r’d, despairing of Success;

Let me advise thee to retreat betimes

To thy Paternal Seat, the Sabine Field,

Where the great Censor toil’d with his own Hands, 

And all our frugal Ancestors were bless’d

In humble Virtues, and a Rural Life.

There live retired, pray for the Peace of Rome

Content thy self to be Obscurely good.

When Vice prevails, and impious Men bear Sway,

The Post of Honour is a private Station.

Port. I hope, my Father does not recommend

A Life to Portius, that he scorns himself

Cato. Farewel, my Friends! if there be any of you

Who dare not trust the Victor’s Clemency,

Know, there are Ships prepared by my Command,

(Their Sails already op’ning to the Winds)

That shall convey you to the wisht-for Port.

Is there aught else, my Friends, I can do for you?

The Conqueror draws near.   Once more Farewel!

If e’er we meet hereafter, we shall meet

In happier Climes, and on a safer Shore,

Where Caesar never shall approach us more.


[Page 86]

[Pointing to his dead Son.

There the brave Youth, with Love of Virtue fired,

Who greatly in his Country’s Cause expired,

Shall know he Conquer’d.   The firm Patriot there

(Who made the Welfare of Mankind his Care)

Tho’ still, by Faction, Vice, and Fortune, crost,

Shall find the gen’rous Labour was not lost.


End of the Fourth Act.


[Page 87]




Cato solus, sitting in a thoughtful Posture: In his

Hand Plato’s Book on the Immortality of the

Soul. A drawn Sword on the Table by him.


IT must be so—Plato, thou reason’st well!—

Else whence this pleasing Hope, this fond Desire,

This Longing after Immortality?

Or whence this secret Dread, and inward Horror,

Of falling into Nought? Why shrinks the Soul

Back on her self, and startles at Destruction?

‘Tis the Divinity that stirs within us;

‘Tis Heav’n its self, that points out an Hereafter,

And intimates Eternity to Man.

Eternity! thou pleasing, dreadful, Thought!

Through what Variety of untry’d Being,

Through what new Scenes and Changes must we pass!

The wide, th’ unbounded Prospect, lies before me;

But Shadows, Clouds, and Darkness, rest upon it.

Here will I hold.  If there’s a Pow’r above us,

(And that there is all Nature cries aloud

Through all her Works) He must delight in Virtue;

And that which he delights in, must be happy.


[Page 88]

But when! or where!—This World was made for Caesar.

I’m weary of Conjectures—This must end ‘em.

[Laying his Hand on his Sword.


Thus am I doubly arm’d: my Death and Life,

My Bane and Antidoge are both before me:

This in a Moment brings me to an End;

But this informs me I shall never die.

The Soul, secur’d in her Existence, smiles

At the drawn Dagger, and defies its Point.

The Stars shall fade away, the Sun himself

Grow dim with Age, and Nature sink in Years;

But thou shalt flourish in immortal Youth,

Unhurt amidst the War of Elements,

The Wrecks of Matter, and the Crush of Worlds.


What means this Heaviness that hangs upon me?

This Lethargy that creeps through all my Senses?

Nature oppress’d, and harass’d out with Care,

Sinks down to Rest.  This once I’ll favour her.

That my awaken’d Soul may take her Flight,

Renew’d in all her Strength, and fresh with Life,

An Off’ring fit for Heav’n.  Let Guilt or Fear

Distrub Man’s Rest: Cato knows neither of ‘em,

Indiff’rent in his Choice to sleep or die.


[Page 89]




Cato, Portius.


Cato. But hah! how’s this, my Son? Why this Intrusion?

Were not my Orders that I would be private?

Why am I disobey’d?

Port. Alas, my Father!

What means this Sword? this Instrument of Death?

Let me convey it hence!

Cato. Rash Youth, forbear!

Port. O let the Pray’rs, th’ Entreaties of your Friends,

Their Tears, their common Danger, wrest it from you.

Cato. Wou’dst thou betray me? Wou’dst thou give me up

A Slave, a Captive, into Caesar’s Hands?

Retire, and learn Obedience to a Father,

Or know, young Man!—

Port. Look not thus sternly on me;

You know I’d rather die than disobey you.

Cato. ‘Tis well! again I’m Master of my self.

Now, Caesar, let thy Troops beset our Gates,

And barr each Avenue, thy gath’ring Fleets

O’er-spread the Sea, and stop up ev’ry Port;

Cato shall open to himself a Passage,

And mock Thy Hopes—

Port. O Sir, forgive your Son,

Whose Grief hangs heavy on him! O my Father!

How am I sure it is not the last Time


[Page 90]

I e’er shall call you so! Be not displeased,

O be not angry with me whilst I weep,

And, in the Anguish of my Heart, beseech you

To quit the dreadful Purpose of your Soul!

Cato. Thou hast been ever good and dutiful.

[Embracing him.

Weep not, my Son.  All will be well again.

The righteous Gods, whom I have fought to please,

Will succour Cato, and preserve his Children.

Port. Your Words give Comfort to my drooping Heart.

Cato. Portius, thou may’st rely upon my Conduct.

Thy Father will not act what misbecomes him.

But go, my Son, and see if aught be wanting

Among thy Father’s Friends; see them emba[r]ked;

And tell me if the Winds and Seas befriend them.

My Soul is quite weigh’d down with Care, and asks

The soft Refreshment of a Moment’s Sleep.


Port. My Thoughts are more at Ease, my Heart revives.




Portius and Marcia.


Port. O Marcia, O my Sister, still there’s Hope!

Our Fath[e]r will not cast away a Life

So needful to us all, and to his Country.

He is retired to Rest, and seems to cherish

Thoughts full of Peace.  He has dispatcht me hence

With Orders, that bespeak a Mind composed,

And studious for the Safety of his Friends.

Marcia, take care that none distu[r]b his Slumbers.



[Page 91]

Marc. O ye immortal Powers, that guard the Just,

Watch round his Couch, and soften his Repose,

Banish his Sorrows, and becalm his Soul

With easie Dreams; remember all his Virtues!

And show Mankind that Goodness is your Care.




Lucia and Marcia.


Luc. Where is your Father, Marcia, where is Cato?

Marc. Lucia, speak low, he is retired to Rest.

Lucia, I feel a gently-dawning Hope

Rise in my Soul.  We shall be happy still.

Luc. Alas, I tremble when I think on Cato,

In every View, in every Thought I tremble!

Cato is stern, and awful as a God,

He knows not how to wink at humane Frailty,

Or pardon Weakness, that he never felt.

Marc. Though stern and awful to the Foes of Rome,

He is all Goodness, Lucia, always mild,

Compassionate, and gentle to his Friends.

Fill’d with Domestick Tenderness, the best,

The kindest Father! I have ever found him

Easie, and good, and bounteous to my Wishes.

Luc. ‘Tis his Consent alone can make us bless’d.

Marcia, we both are equally involv’d

In the same intricate, perplex’d, Distress.

The cruel Hand of Fate, that has destroy’d

Thy Brother Marcus, whom we both lament—

Marc. And ever shall lament, unhappy Youth!


[Page 92]

Luc. Has set my Soul at large, and now I stand

Loose of my Vow.  But who knows Cato’s Thoughts?

Who knows how yet he may dispose of Portius,

Or how h[e] has determin’d of thy self?

Marc. Let him but live! commit the rest to Heav’n.


Enter Lucius.


Luc. Sweet ar the Slumbers of the virtuous Man!

O Marcia, I have seen thy Godlike Father:

Some Pow’r invisible supports his Soul,

And bears it up in all its wonted Greatness.

A kind refreshing Sleep in fall’n upon him:

I saw him stretchy at Ease, his Fancy lost

In pleasing Dreams; as I drew near his Couch,

He smiled, and cry’d, Caesar thou can’st not hurt me.

Marc. His Mind still labours with some dreadful Thought.

Luc. Lucia, why all this Grief, these Floods of Sorrow?

Dry up thy Tears, my Child, we all are safe

While Cato lives—His Presence will protect us.


Enter Juba.


Juba. Lucius, the Horsemen are return’d from viewing

The Number, Strength and Posture of our Foes,

Who now encamp within a short Hour’s March.

On the high Point of yon bright Western Tower

We kenn them from afar, and setting Sun

Plays on their shining Arms and burnish’d Helmets,

And covers all the Field with Gleams of Fire.


[Page 93]

Luc. Marcia, ‘tis time we shou’d awake thy Father.

Caesar is still disposed to give us Terms.

And waits at Distance ‘till he hears from Cato.


Enter Portius.


Portius, thy Looks speak somewhat of Importance.

What Tidings dost thou bring? methinks I see

Unusual Gladness sparkling in thy Eyes.

Port. As I was hasting to the Port, where now

My Father’s Friends, impatient for a Passage,

Accuse the ling’ring Winds, a Sail arrived

From Pompey’s Son, who through the Realms of Spain

Calls out for Vengeance on his Father’s Death,

And rouses the whole Nation up to Arms.

Were Cato at their HEad, once more might Rome

Assert her Rights, and claim her Liberty.

But heark! What means that Groan! O give me way,

And let me fly into my Father’s Presence.


Luc. Cato, amidst his Slumbers, thinks on Rome,

And in the wild Disorder of his Soul

Mourns o’er his Country; Hah! a second Groan!—

Heav’n guard us all—

Marc. Alas. ‘tis not the Voice

Of one who sleeps! ‘tis agonizing Pain,

‘Tis Death is in that Sound—


[Page 94]

Re-enter Portius.

Port. O Sight of Woe!

O Marcia, what we fear’d is come to pass!

Cato is fall’n upon his Sword—

Luc. O Portius,

Hide all the Horrours of thy mournful Tale,

And let us guess the rest.

Port. I’ve rais’d him up,

And placed him in his Chair, where pale, and faint,

He gasps for Breath, and, as his Life flows from him,

Demands to see his Friends.  His weeping Servants,

Obsequious to his Orders, bear him hither.

[The Back Scene opens, and discovers Cato.

Marc. O Heav’n assist me in this dreadful Hour

To pay the last sad Duties to my Father.

Juba. These are thy Triumphs, thy Exploits, O Caesar!

Luc. Now is Rome fall’n indeed!—

[Cato brought forward in his Chair.

Cato. Here set me down—

Portius come near me—are my Friends embark’d?

Can any thing be brought of for their Service?

Whilst I yet live, let me not live in vain.

—O Lucius, art thou here?—Thou art too good!—

Let this our Friendship live between our Children;

Make Portiushappy in thy Daughter Lucia.

Alas poor Man, he weeps!—Marcia, my Daughter—

—O bend me forward!—Juba loves thee, Marcia.

A Senator of Rome, while Rome survived,


[Page 95]

Wou’d not have match’d his Daughter with a King,

But Caesar’s Arms have thrown down all Distinction;

Whoe’er is Brave and Virtuous, is a Roman

—I’m sick to Death—O when shall I get loose

From this vain World, th’ Abode of Guilt and Sorrow!—

—And yet methinks a Beam of Light breaks in

On my departing Soul.  Alas, I fear

I’ve been too hasty.  O ye Pow’rs, that search

The Heart of Man, and weight his inmost Thoughts,

If I have done amiss, impute it not!—

The best may Erre, but you are Good, and—oh!


Luc. There fled the greatest Soul that ever warm’d

A Roman Breast; O Cato! O my Friend!

Thy Will shall be religiously ovserv’d.

But let us bear this awful Corps to Caesar,

And lay it in his Sight, that it may stand

A Fence betwixt us and the Victor’s Wrath;

Cato, tho’ dead, shall still protect his Friends.

From hence, let fierce contending Nations know

What dire Effects from Civil Discord flow.

‘Tis this that shakes our Country with Alarms,

And give up Rome a Prey to Roman Arms,

Produces Fraud, and Cruelty, and Strife,

And robbs the Guilty World from Cato’s Life.

[Exeunt Omnes.


End of the Fifth Act.


[Page 96]





Spoken by Mrs. PORTER.


WHAT odd fantastick Things we Women do!

Who wou’d not listen when young Lovers who?

But die a Maid, yet have the Choice of Two!

Ladies are often cruel to their Cost;

To give you Pain, themselves they punish most.

Vows of Virginity shou’d well be weigh’d;

Too oft they’re cancell’d, tho’ in Convents made.

Wou’d you revenge such rash Resolves—you may:

Be spiteful—and believe the thing we say,

We hate you when you’re easily said Nay.

How needless, if you knew us, were your Fears?

Let Love have Eyes, and Beauty will have Ears.

Our Hearts are form’d, as you your selves wou’d chuse,

Too proud to ask, too humble to refuse:

We give to Merit, and to Wealth we sell;

He sights with most success that settles well.

The Woes of Wedlock with the Joys we mix;

‘Tis best repenting in a Coach and Six.

Blame not our Conduct, since we but pursue

Those lively Lessons we have learn’d from you:

Your Breasts no more the Fire of Beauty warms,

But wicked Wealth usurps the Pow’r of Charms;

What Pains to get the Gaudy thing you hate,

To swell in Show, and be a Wretch in State!


[Page 97]

At Plays you ogle, at the Ring you bow;

Even Churches are no Sanctuaries now.

There, Golden Idols all your Vows receive;

She is no Goddess that has nought to give.

Oh, may once more the happy Age appear,

When Words were artless, and the Thoughts sincere,

When Gold and Grandeur were unenvy’d Things,

And Courts less coveted than Groves and Springs.

Love then shall only mourn when Truth complains,

And Constancy feels Transport in its Chains.

Sighs with Success their own soft Anguish tell,

And Eyes shall utter what the Lips conceal:

Virtue again to its bright Station climb,

And Beauty fear no Enemy but Time.

The Fair shall listen to Desert alone,

And every Lucia find a Cato’s Son.




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