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And try to rouse up all that's Roman in 'em. 'Tis not in mortals to command success, But we'll do more, Sempronius, we'll deserve it. [Ex.
Sem. Curse on the stripling! how he apes his sire! Ambitiously sententious—But I wonder Old Syphax comes not; his Numidian genius Is well dispos’d to mischief, were he prompt And eager on it; but he must be spurr'd, And every moment quicken’d to the course. -Cato has us'd me ill: he has refus'd His daughter Marcia to my
ardent vows. Besides, his baffled arms, and ruin'd cause, Are bars to my ambition. Cæsar's favour, That show'rs down greatness on his friends, will raise
To Rome's first honours. If I give up Cato,
Syph. Sempronius, all is ready; I've sounded my Numidians, man by man, And find them ripe for a revolt: they all Complain aloud of Cato's discipline, And wait but the command to change their master.
Sem. Believe me, Syphax, there's no time to waste; Ev'n while we speak our conqueror comes on, And gathers ground upon us every moment. Alas! thou know'st not Cæsar's active soul, With what a dreadful course he rushes on
From war to war. In vain has nature form'd
Syph. Alas, he's lost!
Sem. Be sure to press upon him every motive.
Syph. But is it true, Sempronius, that your senate
Sem. Let me alone, good Syphax, I'll conceal My thoughts in passion, ('tis the surest way ;) I'll bellow out for Rome, and for my country,
And mouthe at Cæsar 'till I shake the senate.
Syph. In troth, thou’rt able to instruct grey hairs, And teach the wily African deceit.
Sem. Once more be sure to try thy skill on Juba. Meanwhile I'll hasten to my Roman soldiers, Inflame the mutiny, and underhand Blow up their discontents, till they break out Unlook'd for, and discharge themselves on Cato. Remember, Syphax, we must work in haste : Oh, think what anxious moments pass between The birth of plots, and their last fatal periods! Oh, 'tis a dreadful interval of time, Fill’d up with horror all, and big with death! Destruction hangs on every word we speak, On every thought, 'till the concluding stroke Determines all, and closes our design. [Exit.
Syph. I'll try if yet I can reduce to reason This headstrong youth, and make him spurn at Cato. The time is short; Caesar comes rushing on usBut hold! young Juba sees me, and approaches.
What are the thoughts that knit thy brow in frowns, And turn thine eye thus coldly on thy prince?
Syph. 'Tis not my talent to conceal my thoughts, Or carry smiles and sunshine in my face, When discontent sits heavy at my heart; I have not yet so much the Roman in me.
Jub. Why dost thou cast out such ungen'rous terms Against the lords and sov'reigns of the world? Dost thou not see mankind fall down before them, And own the force of their superior virtue? Is there a nation in the wilds of Afric, Amidst our barren rocks, and burning sands, That does not tremble at the Roman name? Syph. Gods! where's the worth that sets these
Jub. These all are virtues of a meaner rank;
To cultivate the wild, licentious savage,
Cato; There may'st thou see to what a god-like height The Roman virtues lift up mortal man, While good, and just, and anxious for his friends, He's still severely bent against himself; " Renouncing sleep, and rest, and food, and ease, " He strives with thirst and hunger, toil and heat," And when his fortune sets before him all The
pomps and pleasures that his soul can wish, His rigid virtue will accept of none.
Syph. Believe me, prince, there's not an African That traverses our vast Numidian desarts In quest of prey, and lives upon his bow,