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Who steel the breast with ever-during hate,
And aid black rancour in its purpos'd mischief,
Be present now, and guide my indignation! [Pauses.
The Trinobantians are advanc'd before me.
Let them sustain the onset; let the Romans
On Dumnorix with ev'ry cohort press,
Till he intreat for Boadicea's aid,
Then shall my eager eyes enjoy his ruin;
And when th' insulting boaster is o'erthrown,
His bands dispers’d, or gasping in the dust,
Then will I rush exulting in my car,
Like fierce Andate, on the weary'd foe
Lead rout and slaughter, through a tide of gore
Impel my clotted wheels, redeem the day,
And, from the mouth of danger snatching conquest,
Crown my revenge with glory.
Ven. Stand apart,
At my request, Icenians. O, unbend (To Boad,
That louring brow, and hear a suppliant sister!
So prone to error is our mortal frame,
Time could not step without a trace of horror,
If wary nature on the human heart,
Amid its wild variety of passions,
Had not impress'd a soft and yielding sense,
That, when offences give resentment birth,
The kindly dews of penitence may raise
The seeds of mutual mercy and forgiveness,
Boad. Weak wretch, and yet whose impotence asa
To mix in warlike councils, and determine
The fate of captives, won in fields of death.
Thou wouldst do better to resérve thy tears ;
Thou shalt have cause for penitential torrents.
Ven. They will not wait a second birth of woe;
thy severity they burst already.
“ Why turns on me that formidable aspect,
“Wont with commanding sternness to behold
“ Its foes abash'd, and victory its vassal?
“ Yet how much brighter is the wreath of glory,
“ When interwove with clemency and justice ?
“ Thou go'st to battle, there obtain renown;
“ But learn compassion from my tears, nor think
“ Benignity enfeebles, or dishonours
“ The most exalted valour.
« Boad. Shall the tears “Of abject importunity detain me, “ While vengeance, striding from his grisly den, “ With fell impatience grinds his iron teeth, “ And waits my nod to satisfy his hunger ? " Hence to th’employment of thy feeble distaff! “ Ven. Not skillid, like thee, in war's ennobling
toiis, “ Inferior praise, and humbler tasks I court, " And own my safety in thy loftier virtues; “ Yet not like thee, with unforgiving wrath, “ Could I resign a sister to her grief " At this tremendous hour, so near deciding
“ The fate of both, One gentle word bestow, “ And I will leave thee with obedient haste;
Nay, I will seek the altars, and request,
“ That in the future triumphs of this day,
“ Heav'n may refuse to Dumnorix a share,
“ And give thee all."
Boad. Does Dumnorix consent
To sacrifice the Romans? Art thou mute?
Still does he brave me? But
your favour'd captives
Shall not escape. They soon shall join the victims,
Which this unconquer'd jav’lin shall reserve
To solemnize the fall of Rome's dominion.
Then to iny glory Dumnorix shall bend.
In sight of Britain shall his baffled pride
The pomp of public sacrifice behold,
Behold and pine. You take a band of soldiers,
[To an Icenian. Watch well around the Trinobantian tents, And guard these Romans, as your lives. I tell thee,
[To Ven: Their
shall yet besmear Andate's altar. Ven. In silent awe I heard thy first resentment, Yet hop'd, the well-known accents of affection, In kindness whisper'd to thy secret ear, Might to thy breast recall its exil'd pity, That gentle inmate of a woman's heart. Boad. Durst thou, presumptuous, entertain a
thought To give this bosom, nerv'd with manly strength, The weak sensations of a female spirit.
Ven. When I remind thy elevated soul,
That we by mutual int’rest are but one,
And by th' indissoluble ties of birth;
Are those sensations weak, which nature prompts?
With justice strengthen’d, can her pow'rful voice
Find no persuasion ?
Boad. None. Provoke no more
With plaintive murmurs my indignant ear.
Thou, and thy husband, authors of my shame,
Before th' assembled chiefs, may rest assur'd,
No pray’rs shall soften, no atonement bribe,
And no submission shall
May desolation trample on my dwelling
A second time, rapacious force again,
And insult revel through my inmost chambers,
If I forgive you. Thou hast food for anguish;
Go, and indulge its appetite at leisure.
Ven. Yes, I will hasten to the holy shrine,
There wring my hands, and melt in copious sorrow,
Not for my injur'd self, but thee remorseless,
To mourn thy faded honours, which, deform'd
By harsh injustice to thy blameless friends,
Ne'er will revive in beauty. Not success,
Not trophies rising round thee, not the throng
Of circling captives, and their conquer'd standards,
Nor glorious dust of victory, can hide
From just reproach thy unrelenting scorn,
While none deplore thee, but the wrong'd Venusia.
[Exit. Boad. Stern pow'r of war, my patroness and guide,
To thee each captive Roman I devote.
Come then, vindictive goddess, in thy terrors;
O'erwhelm with wrath his sacrilegious head,
Who would defraud thy altars: O confound
His ranks, his steeds, his chariots, and thy favour
To me, thy martial votaress, confine,
In sex like thee, and glowing with thy fires.
[Excunt all but Ænobarbus and Flaminius. Æno. Do thou come forward now, and say, what
Has thy dejected soul been brooding o'er?
Yon furious dame, who fill'd thee so with dread,
Is marching onward. Raise thy head, and look ;
See, where ev'n now with sullen pride she mounts
Her martial seat; yet wondrous slow, by Heav'n,
Her car descends, nor soon will reach the vale.
Thou look’st desponding. Art thou still dismay'd ?
Think'st thou yon dreadful woman will return?
From us she moves, though slowly; then take com-
Flam. Far other care, than terrors, fill my breast.
Ænob. What means this languor? Wherefore heaves
Flam. O Ænobarbus, wilt thou bear my weakness;
I see the moment of deliv’rance near,
Yet pine with grief.
Ænob. Whate'er the folly be,
With which thy bosom teems, the gods confound it.
Flam. To see the dearest object of my soul,
Just see her after such a tedious absence,