« AnteriorContinuar »
Of Rome and Alba will approve such mildness.
Tell him his wife, if he will own that name,
Intreats him from the field; his lost Horatia
Begs on lier trembling knees he would not tempt
A certain fate, and murder her he loves.
Tell him, if he consents, she fondly swears,
By every god the varying world adores,
“ By this dear pledge of vow'd affection, swears,"
To know no brothers and no sire but him;
With him, if honour's harsh commands require it,
She'll wander forth, and seek some distant home,
Nor ever think of Rome or Alba more.
“ Valeria. Well, well, he will. Do not torment
[Horatia catches hold of the scarf, which she looked
upon attentively while Valeria spoke. “ Horatia. Look here, Valeria, where my needle's
“ Has drawn a Sabine virgin, drown'd in tears
“ For her lost country, and forsaken friends;
“ While by her side the youthful ravisher
“ Looks ardent love, and charms her griefs away.
“ I am that maid distress'd, divided so
“ 'Twixt love and duty. But why rave I thus ?
“ Haste haste to Curiatius and yet stay ;
« Sure I have something more to say to him :
“ I know not what it was.”
Valerius. Could I, sweet lady,
But paint your grief with half the force I feel it,
I need but tell it him, and he must yield.
Horatia. It may be so. Stay, stay ; be sure you
If he rejects my suit, no power on earth
Shall force me to his arms. I will devise-
I'll die and be reveng'd !
Valeria. Away, my brother!
But, Oh, for pity, do your office justly!
[aside to Valerius. Let not your passion blind your reason now; But urge your cause with ardor.
Valerius. By my soul, I will, Valeria. Her distress alarms me; And I have now no interest but hers. [Exit. “ Valeria. Come, dearest maid, indulge not thus
your sorrows; “ Hope smiles again, and the sad prospect clears. " Who knows th' effect your message may produce? “ The milder senators ere this perhaps “ Have mov'd your lover's mind; and if he doubts, " He's yours."
Horatia. He's gone I had a thousand things And yet I'm glad he's gone. Think you, Valeria, Your brother will delay: --They may engage Before he reaches them.
Valeria. The fieid's so near, That a few minutes brings him to the place. “ And 'tis not probable the senators “ So soon should yield a cause of so much justice. “ Horatia. Alas! they should have thought on that before.
“ 'Tis now too late. The lion when he's rous'd “ Must have his prey, whose den we might have
pass'd " In safety while he slept. To draw the sword, " And fire the youthful warrior's breast to arms “ With awful visions of immortal fame, “ And then to bid him sheath it, and forget “ He ever hop'u for conquest and renown• Vain, vain at:einpt !
“ Valeria. Yet when that just attempt " Is seconded by love, and beauty's tears “ Lend their soft aid to melt the hero down, " What may we not expect ?
“ Horatia. My dear Valeria! " Fain would I hope I had the power to move him."
Valeria. My dear Horatia, success is yours already. Horatia. And yet, should I succeed, the hard-gain'd
May chance to rob me of my future peace.
He may not always with the eyes of love
Look on that fondness which has stabb'd his fame.
He may regret too late the sacrifice
He made to love, and a fond woman's weakness ;
And think the milder joys of social life
But ill repay him for the mighty loss
Valeria. Pray, furbear;
And search not thus into eventful time
For ills to come. - This fatal temper, friend,
" Alive to feel, and curious to explore
" Each distant object of refin'd distress,
“ Shuts out all means of happiness, nor leaves it
“ In fortune's power to save you from destruction."
Like some distemper'd wretch, your wayward mind
Rejects all nourishment, or turns to gall
The very balm that should relieve its anguish.
He will admire thy love, which could persuade him
To give up glory for the milder triumph
Of heart-felt ease and soft humanity.
Horatia. I fain would hope so. Yet we hear not of
Your brother, much I fear, has su'd in vain.
Could we not send to urge this slow express -
This dread uncertainty! I long to know
My life or death at once.
“ Valeria. The wings of love
“ Cannot fly faster than my brother's zeal
“ Will bear biin for your service.
“ Horatia. I believe it,
“ Yet doubt it too. My sickly mind unites
“ Strange contradictions.”
Valeria. Shall I to the walls?
I may from thence with ease survey the field,
And can dispatch a messenger each moment,
To tell thee all goes well.
Horatia. My best Valeria !
Fly then; “ I know thy heart is there already."
Thou art a Roman maid; and though thy friendship
Detains thee here with one who scarce deserves
That sacred name, art anxious for thy country.
But yet for charity think kindly of me;
For thou shalt find by the event, Valeria,
I am a Roman too, however wretched. [Exit Valeria.
Am I a Roman then? Ye powers! I dare not
Resolve the fatal question I propose.
If dying would suffice, I were a Roman :
But to stand up against this storm of passions,
Transcends a woman's weakness. Hark! what noise?
Tis news from Curiatius 1--Love, I thank thee!
Enter a Servant. Well, does he yield ? Distract me not with silence. Say, in one word
Serv. Your father-
Horatia. What of him?
Wouid he not let him yield ? Oh, cruel father!
Serv. Madam, he's here-
Serv. Borne by his attendants.
Horatia. What mean'st thou?
Enter HORATIUS, led in by his Servants.
Horatius. Lead me yet a little onward;
I shall recover straight.
Horatia. My gracious sire !
Horatius. Lend me thy arm, Horatia-So-- My
Be not surpris’d; an old man must expect
These little shocks of nature ; tiey are hints
To warn us of our end,