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Enter ÆNOBARBUS and FLAMINIUS, in Chains.
Boad. Stay, if thou wilt, and see our victims fall.
[To the Ambassador. Ænob. [To Boad.] Dart not on me thy fiery eyes,
barbarian ! Vain are thy efforts to dismay a Roman. Life is become unworthy of my care; And these vile limbs, by galling chains dishonour'd, I give most freely to the wolves and thee.
Rom. Am. Mistaken queen! the Romans do not
These instigations, nor thy proud defiance
To meet your numbers in the vale below.
Ænob. (To the Ambas.] Then wherefore dost thou
linger here in vain ?
Commend us to Suetonius; bid him straight
Arrange his conquering legions in the field,
There teach these rash barbarians to repent
Of their disdain, and wish for peace too late,
Rom. Am. [To the prisoners.] Yes, to Suetonius and
the Roman camp
These heavy commendations will we bear:
That, for two gallant countrymen, our love
And indignation at their fate may sharpen
Each weapon's point, and strengthen ev'ry nerve,
Till humbled Britain have appeas'd their shades.
[Exit. Ænob. Come, let us know our fate. Boad. Prepare for death.
Enob. Then cease to loiter, savage.
Dum. [To Ænob.] Now, by Heaven,
Wert thou no Roman, I could save and love thee.
That dauntless spirit in another breast,
And in a blameless cause, were truly noble,
But shews in thee the murderer and ruffian.
Ænob. Thy hate or favour are alike to me.
Flam. [To Dum.] May I demand, illustrious Tri-
Why must we fall, because uncertain war
Hath made us captives?
Dum. If in
battle, With gen'rous valour to have fac'd our arms, Were all our charge against thee, thou might'st rest Secure of life ; but leading thee to die Is execution on a gen’ral robber. Ænob. [To Flam.] And dost thou meanly sue to
these barbarians ? Flam. (To Dum.] Though our rapacious country
men have drawn Your just resentment, we are guiltless both. Boad. [To Flam.] So are ten thousand infants,
whom the name, The single name of Roman shall condemn, Like thee, to perish by th' unsparing sword.
Flam. Yet more than guiltless, we may plead desert With Boadicea.
Boad. Insolent pretension !
A Roman plead desert with Boadicea !
This shall enlarge the portion of thy suff'rings;
For this not only shall thy blood embrue
Andate's shrine, but torture shall be added,
And fury wanton in thy various pains.
Ænob. [To Boad.] Produce thy tortures; them and
thee we scorn. Ten. Fall back with rev'rence, Trinobantian soldiers, See who advances from your gen’ral's tent.
Ven. Victorious sister, may th’unresting labour
Of fortune weave new honours to adorn thee,
And Dumnorix, thy colleague, and my lord.
But if, amid these warlike consultations,
yet the order'd pomp of battle moves,
A supplicating sound may reach thy ear,
Stoop from thy glory to an act of mercy.
Thy doom pronounc'd on these unhappy captives
Ven. Their deservings, and thy daughter's pray'r,
Mix'd with my own compassion, from the tent
Have call'd me forth a suitor to thy pity,
That thou wouldst hear and spare them.
Boad. Spare these captives !
Dum. Why this request, Venusia ?
Ven. Give them hearing :
They can unfold a story which demands
Your whole attention.
Dum. Let us hear. Proceed.
[To Flam. Flam. The Romans' late injustice we abhorr’d, Nor join'd the band of spoilers. In that season,
We chanc'd one day to wander through the forest
Which parts our confines from th’Icenian land.
We found a beauteous virgin in our way.
Boad. Wretch I dost thou hope to barter with our
For thy base life?'
Flam. I fear not death, Oh, Queen! But dread dishonour ev’n among my foes. Ænob. Death is thy terror; reason else would teach
three, No gratitude with cruelty can dwell.
Flam. Deep in that wood we met the lovely maid, Chas'd by a brutal soldier. At our threats He soon retreated. To our home we led her, From insult guarded, sent her back with honour: Nor was she less than Boadicea's daughter.
Ven. Now, dearest sister, whose successful standard Not valour more than equity upholds ; And thou, my husband, who dost rise in arms, Oppressive deeds in others to chastise, From your own guiding justice will you stray, And blend deservers with the herd of guilt ?
Dum. And are you Romans? Yes, we will, Venusia, Repay their worthy deed. Strike off their fetters.
Boad. What do I hear! A British chief's command!
Whoe'er unchains a Roman, on mankind
Lets loose oppression, insolence and rapine,
Sets treason, falsehood, vice, and murder free.
Den. Yet these preserv'd thy Emmeline from shame.
Boad. Not less the victim of eternal shame
Was she conducted to their hateful mansion.
To guard her honour, and be less than ruffians,
Had been repugnant to their name and race;
But fear of me compellid them to release her.
Then shall two Romans, nurs’d in fraud and falsehood,
From childhood train'd to each flagitious deed,
By colour'd pleas to shun the fate they merit,
Here find regard against the thousand mouths
Of Boadicea's sufforings ? No, this moment
Shall they expire in torture.
Ven. Yet reflect;
Of all the paths which lead to human bliss,
The most secure and grateful to our steps
With mercy and humanity is mark'd.
The sweet-tongu'd rumour of a gracious deed
Can charm from hostile hands th’ uplifted blade,
The gall of anger into milk transform,
And dress the brows of enmity in smiles.
Boad. Still dost thou dare, Venusia
Dum. Gently, sister :
And, trust me these resemble virtuous men.
Boad. Was I not virtuous, whom the Romans lash'd?
Were not my violated children virtuous ?
Bear them this instant to the fiercest rack;
And, while their trembling limbs are strain'd with
While, through the cruel agony of pain,
The bloody drops bedew their shiv'ring cheeks,
Tell them how gentle are the pangs they feel,
To those the soul of Boadicea prov'd,