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Enter ÆNOBARBUS and FLAMINIUS, in Chains.
[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
linger here in vain ?
the Roman camp
[Exit. Ænob. Come, let us know our fate. Boad. Prepare for death.
Ænob. Then cease to loiter, savage.
Dum. [To Ænob.] Now, by Heaven,
Ænob. Thy hate or favour are alike to me.
Dum. If in open 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 !
For this not only shall thy blood embrue
thee we scorn. Ten. Fall back with rev'rence, Trinobantian soldiers, See who advances from your gen’ral's tent.
Ven. Their deservings, and thy daughter's pray'r,
Boad. Spare these captives !
Ven. Give them hearing :
[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
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.
Ven. Yet these preserv'd thy Emmeline from shame. Boad. Not less the victim of eternal shame
Was she conducted to their hateful mansion.
Ven. Yet reflect;
mercy and humanity is mark'd.
Boad. Still dost thou dare, Venusia
Dum. Gently, sister :
Boad. Was I not virtuous, whom the Romans lash'd?