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Think'st thou we know not wherefore we are here,
Seest thou yon drooping sire ?
Horatius. Permit them, sir.
Tullus. What would you, Romans?
Valerius. We are come, dread sir,
In the behalf of murder'd innocence;
Murder'd by him, the man
Horatius. Whose conquering arm Has sav'd you all from ruin. Oh, shame! shame! Has Rome no gratitude? Do ye not blush To think whom your insatiate rage pursuses? Down, down, and worship him.
ist Citizen. Does he plead for him ? 2d Citizen. Does he forgive his daughter's death?
Horatius. He does,
And glories in it, glories in the thought
That there's one Roman left who dares be grateful;
If you are wrong'd, then what am I Must I
Be taught my duty by th' affected tears
strangers to my blood ? Had I been wrong'd,
I know a father's right, and had not ask'd
This ready-talking sir to bellow for me,
And mouth my wrongs
Valerius. Friends, countrymen, regard not what he
Stop, stop your ears, nor hear a frantic father
Thus plead against his child.
Horatius. He does belie me.
What child have I i Alas! I have but one
And him you would tear from me.
All Citizens. Hear him I hear him!
Pub. No; let me speak. Think'st thou, ungratea
To hurt my quiet i I am hurt beyond
Thy power to harm me, Death's extremest tortures
Were happiness to what I feel. Yet know,
My injur'd honour bids me live; nay, more,
It bids me even descend to plead for life.
But wherefore waste I words ? 'Tis not to him,
But you, my countrymen, to you, I speak;
He loy'd the maid.
Ist Citizen. How ! lov'd her!
Pub. Fondly lov'd her ; And, under shew of public justice, screens A private passion, and a mean revenge. Think you I lov'd her not? High Heaven's my wit
How tenderly I lov'd her; and the pangs
I feel this moment, could you see my heart,
'Twould prove too plainly I am still her brother.
ist Citizen. He shall be sav'd. Valerius has misled us.
All Citizens. Save him! save him!
Tullus. If yet a doubt remains,
Behold that virtuous father, who could boast
This very morn, a numerous progeny,
The dear supports of his declining age;
Then read the sad reverse with pitying eyes,
And tell your conscious hearts they fell for your.
Horatius. I am o'erpaid by that, nor claim I ought
On their accounts; by high Heaven, I swear,
I'd rather see him added to the heap,
Than Rome enslav'd.
1st. Citizen. Oh, excellent Horatius!
All Citizens. Save him! save him !
Tullus. Then I pronounce him free. And now,
Horatius, The evening of thy stormy day at last Shall close in peace. Here, take him to thy breast. Horatius. My son, my conqueror! 'twas a fatal
But shall not wound our peace. This kind embrace
Shall spread a sweet oblivion o'er our sorrows;
Or, if in after times, though 'tis not long
That I shall trouble you, some sad remembrance,
Should steal a sigh, and peevish age forget
Its resolution, only boldly say
Thou sav'dst the state, and I'll intreat forgiveness.
Learn hence, ye Romans, on how sure a base
The patriot builds his happiness;
Grief may to grief in endless round succeed,
And nature suffer when our children bleed;
But still superior must that hero prove,
Whose first, best passion, is his country's love.
LADIES, by me our courteous author sends
His compliments to all his female friends,
And thanks them from his soul for every bright
Indulgent tear which they have shed to-night.
Sorrow in virtue's cause proclaims a mind,
And gives to beauty graces more refinid.
Oh, who could bear the loveliest form of art,
A cherub's face, without a feeling heart!
'Tis there alone, whatever charms we boast,
'Though men may flatter, and though men may toast,
'Tis there alone they find the joy sincere,
The wife, the parent, and the friend are there.
All else, the veriest rakes themselves must own,
Are but the paltry play-things of the town ;
The painted clouds, which glittering tempt the chace,
Then melt in air, and mock the vain embrace.
Well then; the private virtues, 'tis confest,
Are the soft inmates of the female breast.
But then, they fill so full that crouded space,
That the poor public seldom finds a place.
And I suspect there's many a fair-one here,
Who pour'd her sorrows on Horatia's bier ;
That still retains so much of flesh and blood,
She'd fairly hang the brother, if she could.
Why, ladies, to be sure, if that be all,
At your tribunal he must stand or fall.
Whate'er his country, or his sire decreed,
You are his judges now, and he must plead.
Like other culprit youths, he wanted grace;
But could have no self-interest in the case.
Had she been wife, or mistress, or a friend,
It might have answer'd some convenient end :
But a mere sister, whom he lov'd- to take
Her life away, and for his country's sake!
Faith, ladies, you may pardon him; indeed
There's very little fear the crime should spread.
True patriots are but rare among the men,
And really might be useful now and then.
Then do not check, by your disapprobation,
d spirit which might rule the British nation,
And still might rule--would you but set the fashion.