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If, shunning faults which nobler bards commit,
He wants the force to strike th' attentive pit,
Be just, and tell him so; he asks advice,
Willing to learn, and would not ask it twice.
Your kind applause may bid him write-beware!
Or kinder censure teach him to forbear.

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THE ROMAN FATHER.

ACT I. SCENE 1.

A Room in HORATIUS's House A Soldier crosses the

Stage, HORATIA following.

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Horatia.
STAY, soldier. As you parted from my father,
Something I overheard of near concern,
But all imperfectly. Said you not Alba
Was on the brink of fate, and Rome determin'd
This day to crush her haughty rival's power,
Or perish in tli' attempt?

Sold. 'Twas so resolv'd
This morning, lady, ere I left the camp.
Our heroes are tir'd out with ling’ring war,
And half-un meaning fight.

Horatia. “ Alas! I hop'd
“ The kind remorse which touch'd the kindred states,
“ And made their swords fall lightly on the breasts
“Of foes they could not hate, might have produc'd
“ A milder resolution.” Then this day

Is fix'd for death or conquest? [He bows. ] To me death,
Whoever.conquers ! [ Aside.] I detain you, sir.
Commend me to my brothers ; say, I wish
But wherefore should I wish? The gods will crown
Their virtues with the just success they merit-
Yet let me ask you, sir-

Sold. My duty, lady,
Commands me hience. Ere this they have engag'd;
And conquest's self would lose its charms to me,
Should I not share the danger.

As the Soldier goes out, VALERIA enters, who looks first

on him, and then on HORATIA. Valeria. My dear Horatia, wherefore wilt thou

court The means to be unhappy? Still enquiring, Still more to be undone. I heard it too ; And flew to find thee, ere the fatal news Had hurt thy quiet, that thou might'st have learnt it From a friend's tongue, and dress’d in gentler terms.

Horatia. Oh, I am lost, Valeria ! lost to virtue. Ev’n while my country's fate, the fate of Rome, Hangs on the conqueror's sword, this breast can feel A softer passion, and divide its cares. Alba to me is Rome. Wouldst thou believe it? I would have sent, by him thou saw'st departing, Kind wishes to my brothers; but my tongue Denied its office, and this rebel heart Ev’n dreaded their success. Oh, Curiatius! Why art thou there, or why an enemy?

9 Valeria. Forbear this self-reproach; he is thy

husband, And who can blame thy fears? If fortune make him A while thy country's foe, she cannot cancel Vows register'd above. What tho' the priest Had not confirm'd it at the sacred altar; Yet were your hearts united, and that union Approv'd by each consenting parent's choice. Your brothers lov'd him as a friend, a brother; And all the ties of kindred pleaded for him, And still must plead, whate'er our heroes teach 115, Of patriot-strength. Our country may demand We should be wretched, and we must obey; But never can require us not to feel That we are miserable : nature there Will give the lie to virtue.

Horatia. True ; yet sure A Roman virgin should be more than woman. Are we not early taught to mock at pain, And look on danger with undaunted eyes ? But what are dangers, what the ghastliest form Of death itself ?--Oh, were I only bid To rush into the Tiber's foaming wave, " Swol'n with uncommon floods,” or from the height Of yon Tarpeian rock, whose giddy steep Has turn'd me pale with horror at the sight, I'd think the task were nothing! but to bear These strange vicissitudes of tort'ring pain, To fear, to doubt, and to despair as I do. Valeria. And why despair ? Have we so idly learn'd

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