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Roman Ambassador, Icenians, and Trinobantians. SCENE, the British Camp before the Tent of Dumnorix.

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BOADICEA, DUMNORIX, Icenians, Trinobantians, and

Roman Ambassador.

Roman Ambassador. SUETONIUS, leader of the Roman arms, With gentlest greetings to th' Icenian queen, And Dumnorix, the Trinobantian chief, Sends health, and proffers friendship. Let the wrongs, The mutual wrongs sustain'd by Rome and Britain

Boad. May stern Andate, war's victorious goddess, Again resign me to your impious rage, If e'er I blot my suff'rings from remembrance ; If e'er relenting mercy cool my vengeance, Till I have driv'n you to our utmost shores, And cast your legions on the crimson'd beach. Your costly dwellings shall be sunk in ashes, Your fields be ravag'd, your aspiring bulwarks

On your

O’erturn'd and levell’d to the meanest shrub;
Your gasping matrons, and your children's blood,
With mingled streams, shall dye the British sword;
Your captive warriors, victims at our altars,
Shall croud each temple's spacious round with death:
Else may each pow'r, to whom the Druids bend,
Annul my hopes of conquest and revenge !
Dum. [To the Ambassador.] You come to offer terms.

Stand forth and answer.
Did not Prasutagus, her dying lord,
insatiate
emperor

bestow
Half of his rich possessions, vainly deeming
The rest might pass unpillagd to his children?
What did ye then, ye savage sons of rapine ?
You seiz'd the whole inheritance by force,
Laid waste our cities; with the servile scourge
Disgrac'd a royal matron; you deflow'r'd
Her spotlesss daughters, stole our noblest youth
To serve your pride and luxury in Rome ;
Our priests you butcher'd, and our hoary elders;
Profan'd our altars, our religious groves,
And the base image of your Cæsar thrust
Among the gods of Britain; and, by heav'n !
Do you repair to these victorious tents
With proffer'd peace and friendship?

Rom, Am. Yes, to treat,
As faith, benevolence, and justice dictate.
Dum. How shall we treat with those, whose impious

hands Have rent the sacred bands of mutual trust?

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da 1. BOADICEA.

11 How shall we treat with those, whose stony hearts Compassion cannot melt, nor shame control, Nor justice awe, nor piety restrain, Nor kindness win, nor gratitude can bind? Rom. Am. Thou art a stranger to our gen'ral's vir

tues.
No pillager, like Catus, but a soldier,
= To calm and sober discipline inur'd,
He would redress, not widen your complaints.

Dum. Can he restore the violated maid
To her untainted purity and fame ?
Can he persuade inexorable death
To yield our slaughter'd elders from the grave ?
No, nor by soothing tales elude our vengeance.

Rom. Am. Yet hear us calmly, ere from yonder hills
You call the legions of imperial Rome,
And wake her eagles, which would sleep in peace.

Boad. Begone, and bear defiance to your legions. Tell them, I come, that Boadicea comes, | Fierce with her wrongs, and terrible in vengeance, To roll her chariot o'er their firmest ranks, To mix their soaring eagles with the dust, And spurn their pride beneath her horses' hoofs.

Rom. Am. Then be prepar'd for war.

Boad. We are prepar’d. Come from your hills, ye fugitive remains Of shatter'd cohorts, by their fear preserv'd. Th’embattled nations of our peopled isle, Yet fresh from seventy thousand slaughter'd Romans, Shall add yon refuse to the purple heap.

And yet amid triumphant desolation,
Though flames each Roman colony devour,
Though each distracted matron view her infant
Grasp with its tender hands the piercing spear,
Though your grey fathers to the falchion's edge
Each feeble head surrender, my revenge
Will pine unsated, and my greatness want
Redress proportion'd to a queen's disgrace.

Dum. Go, and report this answer to Suetonius :
Too long have parents' sighs, the cries of orphans,
And tears of widows, signaliz'd your sway,
Since

your ambitious Julius first advanc'd
His murd'rous standard on our peaceful shores.
At length, unfetter'd from his patient sloth,
The British genius lifts his pond'rous hands,
To hurl with ruin his collected wrath,
For all the wrongs a century hath borne,
In one black period, on the Roman race.

Rom. Am. Yet ere we part, your price of ransom

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For the two captive Romans.

Boad. Not the wealth Which loads the palaces of sumptuous Rome Shall bribe my fury. Hence, and tell your legions, The hungry ravens, which inhabit round The chalky cliffs of Albion, shall assemble To feast upon the limbs of these your captains, Shall riot in the gore of Roman chiefs, These masters of the world. Produce the pris'ners.ta.s.

[To an Icenian.bad

a tunt

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