Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

She seeks th' indulgent friend, whose sober sense,
Free from the mists of passion, might direct
Her jarring thoughts, and plead her doubtful cause.
Valerius. Am I that friend ? Oh, did she turn her

thought
On me for that kind office ?

Valeria. Yes, Valerius.
She chose you out to be her advocate
To Curiatius; 'tis the only hope
She now darts cherish; her relentless brother
With scorn rejects her tears, her father flies her,
And only you remain to sooth her cares,
And save her ere she sinks.

Valerius. Her advocate
To Curiatius!

Valeria. 'Tis to him she sends you, To urge

her suit, and win him from the field. But come, her sorrows will more strongly plead Than all my grief can utter.

Valerius. To my rival !
To Curiatius plead her cause, and teach
My tongue a lesson which my heart abhors !
Impossible! Valeria, pr'ythee say
Thou saw'st me not; the business of the camp
Confin'd me there. Farewell.

[Going
Valeria. What means my brother?
You cannot leave her now ; for shame, turn back ;
Is this the virtue of a Roman youth?
Oh, by these tears.----

Valerius. They flow in vain, Valeria :

Nay, and thou know'st they do. Oh, earth and

heaven!
This combat was the means my happier stars
Found out to save me from the brink of ruin ;
And can I plead against it, turn assassin
On my own life?

Valeria. Yet thou canst murder her
Thou dost pretend to love ; away, deceiver !
I'll seek some worthier messenger to plead
In beauty's cause; but first inform Horatia,
How much Valerius is the friend she thought him.

[Going. Valerius. Oh, heavens ! stay, sister; 'tis an arduous

task. Valeria. I know the task is hard, and thought I

knew Thy virtue too.

Valerius. I must, I will obey thee.
Lead on.-Yet pr’ythee, for a moment leave me,
'Till I can recollect my scatter'd thoughts,
And dare to be unhappy,

Valeria My Valerius!
I fly to tell her you but wait her pleasure. [Exit.

Valerius. Yes, I will undertake this hateful office; It never can succeed.--Yet at this instant It may be dangerous, while the people melt With fond compassion. No, it cannot be ; His resolution's fix'd, and virtuous pride Forvids an alteration. To attempt it Makes her my friend, and may afford hereafter

A thousand tender hours to move my suit.
That hope determines all,

[Exit.

SCENE II.

Another Apartment. Enter HORATIA and VALERIA.

HORATIA with a Scarf in her Hand. Horatia. Where is thy brother? Wherefore stays

he thus? Did you conjure him ? did he say he'd come ? I have no brothers now, and fly to him As my last refuge. Did he seem averse To thy entreaties ? Are all brothers so ? * Alas, thou told'st me he spake kindly to theel "'Tis me, 'tis me he shuns; I am the wretch “ Whom virtue dares not make acquaintance with. “ Yet fiy to him again, entreat him hither, « Tell him for thy sake to have pity on me. “ Thou are no enemy to Rome, thou hast 6 No Alban husband to claim half thy tears, “ And make humanity a crime."

Valeria. Dear maid,
Restrain your sorrows; I've already told you
My brother will with transport execute
Whatever you command.

Horatia. Oh, wherefore then
Is he away? Each moment now is precious ;
If lost, 'tis lost for ever, and if gain'd,

Long scenes of lasting peace, and smiling years
Of happiness unhop'd for wait upon it.

Valeria. I will again go seek him ; pray, be calm; Success is thine if it depends on him.

[Exit. Horatia. Success I alas, perhaps even now too late 1 labour to preserve him; the dread arm Of vengeance is already stretch'd against him, And he must fall. Yet let me strive to save him. Yes, thou dear pledge, design'd for happier hours,

[To the scarf. The gift of nuptial love, thou shalt at least Essay thy power. Ost as I fram'd thy web, He sate beside me, and would say in sport, This present, which thy love designs for me, Shall be the future bond of peace betwixt us : By this we'll swear a lasting love, by this, Through the sweet round of all our days to come, Ask, what thou wilt, and Curiatius grants it. o I shall try thee nearly now, dear youth ; Glory and I are rivals for thy heart, And one must conquer.

Enter VALERIUS and VALERIA.
Valerius. Save you, gracious lady ;
On the first message which my sister sent me
I had been here, but was oblig'd by office,
Ere to their champions each resign'd her charge,
To ratify the league 'twixt Rome and Alba.

Horatia. Are they engag'd then?

Valerius. No, not yet engag:d ;
Soft pity for a while suspend the onset ;
The sight of near relations, arm'd in fight
Against each other, touch'd the gazers hearts ;
And senators on each side have propos'd
To change the combatants.

Horatia. My blessings on them !
Think you they will succeed?

Valerius. The chiefs themselves Are resolute to fight.

Horatia. Insatiate virtue! I must not to the field; I am confin'd A prisoner here; or sure these tears would move Their Alinty breasts.--Is Curiatius too Resolv'd on death-0, sir, forgive a maid, Who dares in spite of modesty confess Too soft a passion. Will you pardon me, If I entreat you to the field again, An humble suitor from the veriest wretch That ever knew distress.

Valerius. Dear lady, speak!
What would you I should do?

Horatia. O bear this to him.
Valerius. To whom?

Horatia. To Curiatius bear this scarf:
And tell him, if he ever truly lov'd ;
If all the vows he breath'd were not false lures
To catch th’unwary mind and sure they were not!
O tell him how he may with honour cease
To urge his cruel right; the senators

« AnteriorContinuar »