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To win from error a bewilder'd sister,
While none are present to alarm her pride.
Ven. I go, but, trembling, doubt my vain atteinpt;
Unless, commission'd with thy dear injunctions,
My soul, exerted to perform thy pleasure,
Could give persuasion all my force of duty, [Exit.
Dum. Hark! we are summon'd.
Tenan. Ev'ry band is form’d:
The Romans too in close arrangement stand.
Dum. Ye warriors, destin'd to begin the onset,
My Trinobantians, it is time to seek
Th' embattled foe. And you, all-judging gods !
Look down benignant on a righteous cause.
Indeed we cannot give you, like the Romans,
A proud and sumptuous offering: we abound not
In marble temples, or in splendid altars :
Yet though we want this vain, luxurious pomp,
Rough though we wander on the mountain's head,
Through the deep vale, and o'er the craggy rock,
We still demand your favour; we can shew
Hands which for justice draw th' avenging steel,
Firm hearts, and manners undebas'd by fraud.
To you, my dauntless friends, what need of words?
Your cities have been sack’d, your children slain,
Your wives dishonour'd-Lo! on yonder hills
You see the spoilers; there the ruffians stand.
Your hands are arm'd; then follow, and revenge.
Enter FLAMINIUS and ÆNOBARBUS.
Flaminius. Ho! Ænobarbus, thou may'st now come forward. What has thy angry soul been brooding o'er?
Ænob. Well thou hast sued, and hast obtain’d thy
Of these barbarians meanly hast implor'd
Thy wretched life, and hast it. Must I thank thee
For this uncommon privilege to stand
A tame spectator of the Roman shame,
To see exulting savages o’erturn
Our walls and ramparts, see them with the spoils
Of our waste dwellings, with our captive eagles
And ancient trophies, ravish'd from our temples,
March in rude triumph o'er the gods of Rome?
Flam. What, thou hadst rather die!
Ænob. And thou hadst rather Live, like a dog, in chains, than die with courage, Thou most unworthy of the Roman name.
Flam. Did those, who now inhabit Rome, deserve The name of Romans, did the ancient spirit Of our forefathers still survive among us, I should applaud this bold contempt of life. Our ancestors, who liv'd while Rome was free, Might well prefer a noble fate to chains; They lost a blessing we have never known:
Born and inur'd to servitude at home,
We only change one master for another,
And Dumnorix is far beyond a Nero.
Ænob. Mean'st thou to mock me?
Flam. No, I mean to shew
Thy stern opinions suit not with the times.
Ænob. Still by our valour we control the world,
And in that duty will I match the foremost.
If our forefathers' manners be neglected,
Free from that blame, I singly will maintain them.
My sentiments are moulded by my spirit,
Which wants thy pliant qualities to yield
With ev'ry gust of fortune, rude or mild,
And crouch beneath example, base or worthy.
Flam. Well, if thou canst not brook a British
Ænob. No, nor thy wanton folly will I brook,
Which sports alike with slavery or freedom,
Insensible of shame.
Flam. Suppose I free thee.
Ænob. Free me!
Flam. This day, if fortune be propitious.
Ænob. Ha! do not cheat me with delusive fables, And trifle with
bonds. Flam. By all my hopes, I do not trifle.
Ænob. Wilt thou give my bosom
Once more to buckle on the soldier's harness,
And meet in battle our insulting foes ?
the flying rout,
And raise a bleeding trophy to revenge,
For each indignity which Rome hath borne ?
Hold me no longer in suspense ; instruct me
From whence these hopes proceed.
Flam. Thou know'st I lov'd
The British princess.
Ænob. Hast thou rais'd
To freedom, future victory, and honour,
And dost thou talk of love ?
Flam. That love shall save us.
Thou saw'st the gentle Emmeline but now
Stole to our tent, and gave the tend'rest welcome.
Unchang'd I found her, soft and artless still.
The gen'rous maid already hath suggested
The means of fight. The battle once begun,
While ev'ry Briton is intent on war,
Herself will guide us to a place of safety.
nob. Now I commend thee.
Flam. Thou approv'st then.
Flam. And see, the joyful moment is approaching;
See, where th' unnumber'd Trinobantians spread
In rude disorder o'er the vale beneath,
Whose broad extent this eminence commands.
Mark their wide-waving multitude, confus'd
With mingling standards, and tumultuous cars :
But far superior to the rest behold,
The brave and gen'rous Dumnorix, erect
With eager hope, his lofty jav'lin shakes,
And with unpolish'd majesty adorns
The front of war.
Ænob. I mark the rabble well ;
And soon shall view the Romans from their station
Between those woods, which shade the adverse hills,
Sweep with resistless ardour to the vale,
And trample o'er the savages like dust. [4 march.
“ Flam. That smiling vale with pity I contemplate, “ And wish more gentle footsteps might be seen “ To press its verdure, and that softer notes, “ Than war's terrific clamours, might be tun'd “ From those surrounding shades, to join the murmurs « Of that fair channel, whose sonorous bed " Receives the stream, descending from this grove “ To form the limpid maze, which shines below.
“ Ænob. I see it glist’ning in the noon-day sun. “ But British gore will change its glassy hue.
“ Flam. Oh! might we rather on its friendly banks “ Erect a grateful monument to Peace; “ That she, her sway resuming, might afford me “ To clasp the gallant Dumnorix, and style him “ My friend, my benefactor, and preserver." Stand from before this tempest, while it passes.
Enter BOADICEA and Icenians.
Boad. Oh! I could drive this jav'lin through my
To ease its tortures. Disobey'di Control'd!
Ev'n in my army's sight! Malignant pow'rs,
If such there be, who o'er revenge preside,