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“ Though roaming o'er the rough and pointed crags,
“ Or through the pathless tract of deepest woods;
“ By thy dear hand supported, would I pass
" Thro' the cold snow, which hides the mountain's
" And o'er the frozen surface of the vale."
Dum. “ Thou best of women, I believe thou
“ Believe thy constant heart would teach those
“ Thus soft and gentle, to support all hardship,
“ And hold with me society in toil.”
But should we want the wretched pow'r to fly,
Ven. What then?
Dum. The Romans may surround us.
Ven. How wouldst thou act in such a dreadful
Dum. Ne'er shall the hands of Dumnorix endure
The shame of fetters; ne'er shall Rome behold
This breast, which honourable war hath seam'd,
Pant with the load of bondage: gen'rous wounds,
Ye deep engraven characters of glory,
Ye faithful monitors of Albion's cause,
Oft, when your midnight anguish hath rebuk'd
Oblivious slumber from my watchful pillow,
And in her danger kept my virtue waking:
You, when that office can avail no more,
Will look more graceful on my death-cold bosom,
Than to be shewn before the scoffing Romans,
Should they behold that Dumnorix in shackles,
Whom once they dreaded in the field of war.
Ven. Assist me, Heav'n )
Dum. Speak out. I watch to hear thee.
My pow'rs are all suspended with attention.
Ven. What shall I do?
Dum. Explain thy thoughts.
Ven. I cannot.
Dum. Why canst thou not ? Remember who thou
And who thy husband is.
Ven. The first of men,
Join'd to the least deserving of her sex.
Dum. View thy own heart; be conscious of thy
And, in its strength confiding, be secure,
That thou art worthy of the greatest man,
And not unequal to the noblest task.
Ven. Oh, I will struggle to assert that claim !
Yet, dearest lord, extend thy whole indulgence,
Nor undeserving of thy love esteem me,
While trembling thus.
Dum. I know thy native softness.
Yet wherefore dost thou tremble i Speak, my love.
Ven. Oh, I have not thy courage, not been us’d,
Like thee, to meet the dreadful shape of death;
I never felt the anguish of a wound;
Thy arm hath still kept danger at a distance :
If now it threatens, and my heart no more
Must treat with safety, it is new to me.
Dum. It is, my love. My tenderness implies
No expectation, that thy gentle mind
Should be at once familiariz'd with fate.
Not insurmountable I hold our danger.
But to provide against delusive fortune,
“ That thou may'st bear, unterrify'd, the lot,
" Which best shall suit thy dignity and name,”
Demands thy care; take counsel of thy virtue.
Ven. I will,
Dum. And arm thy breast with resolution.
Ven. Indeed I will, and ask the gracious gods
To fill my heart with constancy and spirit,
And shew me worthy of a man, like thee:
« Perhaps their succour, thy rever'd injunction,
“ And high example, may control my terrors."
But, Oh! what pow'r shall sooth another care,
Than life more precious, and a keener pang,
Than death's severest agony, relieve ;
The sad remembrance of my helpless infants,
Our love's dear pledges, who before me rise
In orphan woe, defenceless and forsaken,
And all my borrow'd fortitude dissolve.
Dum. Thou perfect pattern of maternal fondness,
And conjugal compliance, rest assur'd,
That care was never absent from my soul.
Confide in me; thy children shall be safe.
Den. How safe ?
Dum. Shall live in safety. Thou shalt know.
Mean time retire. Our anxious chiefs, return’d,
Wait my commands, and midnight is advancing.
-her love and duty will surmount
This hideous task-Oh, morning bright in hope,
Clos'd by a night of horror, which reduces
This poor-dear woman, yet in blooming years,
Bless'd in her husband, in her offspring bless'd,
Perhaps to cut her stem of being short
With her own tender hand-If ever tears
Might sort with valour, nor debase a soldier,
It would be now -Ha! whither do I plunge?
Enter EBRANCUS, TENANTIUS, and Trinobantiansi
Dum. Well, my brave friends, what tidings?
Ebran. Through thy quarter
With weary steps and mourning have we travers'd
A silent desert of unpeopled tents,
Quite to the distant station of th' Icenians.
Their chiefs we found in council round their queen ;
The multitude was arming: twenty thousand
Were yet remaining, and unhurt by war,
Unlike our Trinobantians, who, unaided,
The fatal onset bore. Those huge battalions,
Which Rome so dreaded, are, alas! no more.
Dum. Be not dejected. Far the greater part
Are Aled for shelter to their native roofs,
And will rejoin us, when with force repair'd
We may dispute our island still with Rome,
But have you gain’d access to Boadicea ?
Ebran. We have.
Dum. What said she ?
Ebran. She approv'd thy counsel.
Dum. You told her then my purpose to retreat Through yonder forest,
Ebran. To herself alone We told it.
Dum. I commend you. You have sav'd us A conference, both needless and unpleasing. Ebran. She further bade us note, how all th’ Ice
nians Were then in arms, and ready to advance. Dum. Return, and tell her, (let thy phrase, Ebran
cus, Be soft and humble) ere two hours be wasted, We must begin our march. Do you explore
[To the other Trinobantians. The secret passage, and with winged haste Bring back your tidings. Thou, Tenantius, wait.
[Exeunt Ebrancus and Trinobantians. To thee my inmost bosom I must open, And to thy friendship trust my tend'rest cares. Thou must pursue thy journey, heed me well, Quite through the forest-Dost thou know the pass? Tenan. Yes, where those gushing waters leave the
grove To seek the valley, deeper in the shade From the same fountain flows a smaller brook, Whose secret channel through the thicket winds, And will conduct me farther down the vale Dum. Which once attain'd, proceed and gain my
dwelling. Give me thy honest hand. - Come nearer, soldier,